Hangook Kwan looks like the quintessential semifinished basement of the 1980s: spacious, equipped with a wide-screen television, a fish tank, a few photos and an it's-OK-if-you-spill-down-here air. The dcor plays an indifferent supporting role to top-flight Korean cuisine. Start with the spicy cabbage condiment/appetizer known as kimchee
and steamed or fried pork dumplings; then move on to a classic specialty like bi bom bop
, a rice, beef, and vegetable dish served piping hot in a clay bowl that burns to the touch. The vegetables pop, the beef is sweet and moist, and the hot sauce comes to taste, pleasing the pickiest palate. Hangook Kwan's waitstaff scores high marks for service, even though the tab for a couple might come to only $30.