Korean / $$ / 5932 Centreville Crest Lane, Centreville; 703-830-5209
It’s not just because they’re free, but damn, those mussels are good. We sat, flipping through a menu of Korean options that have nothing to do with barbecue, and our server brought mussels. Jalapenos, scallions and cucumbers flavor the spicy, yet clean-tasting, clear broth. We sip on it throughout the meal—through the puffy pancakes filled with bits of octopus and shrimp; through the thickness that is ja jang myun, the noodles cloaked in a darkness of black bean sauce with bits of pork and onions; and through the elegant display of squid, firm and not at all chewy, in a heat that encourages eating, not something to be scared of. There’s a crowd here on a Thursday at lunchtime. Looks like everyone else likes mussels, too.