Hee Been Asian Bistro Buffet Now Open

by ARLnow.com January 5, 2012 at 2:05 pm 8,509 36 Comments

(Updated at 2:20 p.m.) There’s no shortage of variety at Hee Been Asian Bistro Buffet, a new restaurant located between Crystal City and Potomac Yard at 3600 S. Glebe Road.

Hee Been’s nearly 80-foot-long dinner buffet features some 85 different items representing three different types of cuisine: Korean, Japanese and Thai. The buffet offerings include soups and salads, a wide selection of freshly-prepared sushi and sashimi, hot and cold noodle dishes, grilled-to-order steaks, various types of seafood and Korean specialties, plus fresh fruit and desserts (tip: try the cold cinnamon tea).

The family-owned restaurant has been off to a relatively slow start since its Christmas Day soft opening, thanks in part to its inconspicuous location. Hee Been is located at the back of the off-street cluster of eateries and shops on the ground floor of the relatively new Eclipse condominium building in the far southeast corner of Arlington County. Though in close proximity to busy Jefferson Davis Highway (Route 1), the restaurant’s existence is hardly noticeable to anybody who doesn’t live in the Eclipse.

Hee Been, with its modern interior and soft background music, is open for both lunch and dinner. The weekday all-you-can-eat buffet prices are $14.99 for lunch and $26.99 for dinner. Weekend prices are a couple of dollars higher. The lunch features most of the selection of the dinner buffet, we’re told, minus some of the higher end items like the crab legs and grilled-to-order steaks.

In addition to the buffet, Hee Been offers a la carte options like Bento boxes and bibimbap. The restaurant also has a full bar with beer, wine and cocktails. Among the specialties are Korean beers like Cass and OB and bottled drinks like Bek Se Ju and Chum-Churum. A happy hour menu, still in development, promises beers as low as $2, cocktails as low as $5 and half-priced wines.

  • CrystalMikey

    I feel for these “hidden” restaurants. PS Skip the OB and just order water…that’s about what that is.

  • Stew Magnuson

    I think you mean “inconspicuous.”

  • OX4

    With 85 different dishes, you can assume they do probably 3 correctly.

    • AllenB

      Not true… I’ve been to a couple of places like this up in NY and the food has been great. Also, you can definitely eat healthy at places like this if you just avoid certain things.

      • OX4

        Okay. But I’m thinking about Cafe Asia. They have Thai, Indonesian, Malaysian, Chinese, Japanese, and Vietnamese, and it all tastes blah.

        • AllenB

          I agree. Some places don’t do a good job with the mix of foods, but some do. I’m curious to hear from some folks who have been there already.

          • Eric

            I will let you know this afternoon becuase i am heading there for lunch.

  • CW

    What’s with all these “Asian” restaurants lately anyhow? The Thai + sushi combination seems especially prevalent. Last time I checked, these three cuisines that this place features were some of the most unique and complex in the world. Who is lumping them together and why?

    • Well

      They didn’t used to call Arlington, ‘Arlington, Vietnam’ back in the day for nothing.

      • CW

        No, I think you missed my point. Straight up any one of these cuisines is one of the great cuisines of the world. What I am asking is who is doing all this confounding of them and why. You don’t see a lot of French/German/Italian combination restaurants do you?

        • I’ll Bite

          I get your point, but it’s not as crazy as it sounds. Koreans are a huge minority in Japan, and many Japanese vacation in Korea, so sushi at a Korean joint isn’t the blasphemy you might think. Besides, they also have dishes that are Western (like steak), so what it comes down to is offering foods their clientele will want and will help them shell out the bucks for this buffet.

          BTW, there used to be an Austro-Italian place near Central Library, originally owned by an Austrian but then sold to–Koreans. French-German is also known as Alsatian and is not unheard of–e.g., L’Auberge Chez Francois.

          • Well

            I hope they don’t do this with their buffet cat meat..

            Thursday January 5, 2012 2:25 AM

            SHANGHAI — There was one very disagreeable ingredient in the steaming hot pot of stew that may have killed a Chinese tycoon. And it wasn’t the cat meat.

            The police have detained a local township official on suspicion that he murdered the tycoon, a business associate who may have caught him cheating, by dropping a poisonous herb into a cat-meat hot pot, a shared stew that is a local delicacy, China’s state-run media reported yesterday.

          • CW

            Fair enough point on the vacationing and migration.

            I am familiar with Alsatian; but that is still one unique cuisine that has arisen over time, rather than a haphazard conflation of cuisines that are still considered in culinary circles to be distinct.

            It just seems that this concept of the generic “Asian” restaurant has only arisen in the past few years, so I was just curious as to where it’s come from.

            Is that Cafe Tirolo you’re talking about? Are they still open? Never made it there when I lived down that way. Worth trying?

          • Well

            Café Triolo used to be awesome before the Koreans took over. I guess they weren’t able to replicate the menu from the Austrians who formerly ran it. It’s a shame too because that place was a hidden gem.

          • Cafe Trololo?

          • CW
  • South Arlington

    Hee Been might have sushi, but it’s really 95% Korean. It’s definitely more accessible to the average round eye than the Annandale joints.

    • Michelle Rhee

      Most sushi in America is made by Koreans

  • Illiterate

    I must need more coffee. I read that the name of the restaurant is “Has Been”. Ugh.

    • Josh S

      You weren’t the only one.

  • South Arlington

    One thing I noticed, does this location not have the grill at your table grills? I didn’t see it in the pictures. So, I’m guessing the bulgogi/kalbi/meat is cooked and available on the buffet?

    • CW

      I hope so. If I want to cook my own food I’ll stay home.

      • Chuck

        The waitresses cook it for you at the other location. You can either pull it off the table grill or have them serve it to you.

  • i REALLY want to go here but no one will go with me

    tears of cry

    • AllenB

      That’s definitely one of the more, um, interesting names I’ve seen on here.

  • chris

    Thai-Roma on Capitol Hill!

    • ArlingtonWay

      Read the health code violations. You’ll never go back. Trust me. Thai and Italian both taste worse with rat feces.

  • Magneticdynamo

    $15 for lunch and even higher on wknd? They don’t stand a chance. Too bad.

    • John Fontain

      That’s what I was thinking – the prices sound awfully high.

  • E


  • Rebecca

    I’ve been to the one in Annandale. It’s pretty good.

  • IBeenBen

    If this Hee Been has any relation to the one off Duke St./Little River Turnpike (Lincolnia), then the food should be very good quality for the price and all you can eat. Just stay away from the “birthday” special, a lot of hidden restrictions and aggrevation. Many places ruin themselves and their ability to serve good food when they distract with gimmicks…

  • angela

    I go to Hee Been all the time, at least once a week on Little River Tnpk in Alexandria. It’s the best! It’s better than this new bistro because they have bolgogi that is so tender that you barbeque at your table with the best sushi. This place is packed every lunch hour by white collar workers. I lived near this restaurant for 10 years and never knew it existed until I read on Yelp how it was better than Ill Mee, which we had been going to. I am excited to go this Saturday. We’ll be bright and early at 11:30 am before the playoffs!

  • Dr. Kim

    [This post has been removed per comment policy regarding specific but unsubstantiated allegations of a crime]

  • G.G.

    Hee Been in South Arlington (Crystal City) shut down. They spent more time under construction than open.


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