Lined with busy shops bearing Korean-language signs, Palisades Park's Broad Avenue is the "epicenter of life in Korean New Jersey," according to food blog Serious Eats. Nestled on this bustling strip is Hanbat Restaurant, the sister location of the Michelin-recommended Manhattan eatery of the same name. Hanbat's menu reveals its chefs' commitment to traditional Korean cuisine: iconic ingredients like kimchi and L.A. kalbi or marinated beef short ribs help chefs add their distinctive flavors to select dishes, and the barbecue section spotlights everything from grilled brisket to duck. The dishes' presentation also adds to this deeply rooted sense of authenticity: in addition to serving rice in hot stone bowls, chefs also stir-fry a couple of entrees tableside, incorporating pork belly, vegetables, and a choice of seafood into the mix.
With more than two decades of experience peddling authentic Korean cuisine, the culinary whizzes at Gam Mee Ok ladle out a cornucopia of tempting appetizers, traditional beef entrees, and exotic liquors squeezed from rice. An appetizer of freshly steamed dumplings or flaky seafood pancakes commences duos' chew-a-thons and are intended to be split between two people, much like the responsibility of rearing a perforated child, before guests receive two shareable entrees. Grilled beef short ribs come backed by special soy sauce in the wang galbi, and the japchae showcases sautéed beef tossed with glass or sweet-potato noodles and soaked in soy cream. Bibimbap, a mix of shredded beef and vegetables over rice, comes in a sizzling stone bowl (dolsot bibimbap) or au natural. As they dine, twosomes can sip on exotic spirits such as bottles of Korean rice wine, sake, vodka-like soju, or liquefied poltergeists.
Bon Chon Midtown's enticing menu of Asian fusion fare entertains taste buds with a tantalizing spread of fresh local veggies, juicy cuts of chicken and short rib, fresh seafood, and eclectic cocktails. The restaurant's signature Korean-style fried chicken dances across palates with the wholesome flavor of vegetarian-fed poultry free from hormones, antibiotics, or opinions about whether the egg preceded it. As guests sip specialty soju cocktails or frosty draft beers, they can admire Bon Chon Midtown's ultramodern décor, which showcases onyx-black tabletops and pristine white furnishings.
Korean Express’s ensemble of chefs sears traditional eats on hot stones, filling the shop with a piquant bouquet of steam. In the bustling kitchen, fingers fly as they prepare a variety of time-honored dishes such as hot-stone bibimbap and savory seaweed rice rolls that only respond to questions when addressed by their Korean name, kimbap. Proof of the kitchen’s dedication to the region's culinary traditions is evident in the use of established ingredients including sweet-potato noodles, kimchi, and handmade boiled dumplings that don't require a chopsticks-to-fork converter.
Though the menu boasts the usual T-bone cuts, new york strip steaks, and lamb chops, Prime & Beyond is not your typical American steakhouse. The tangy smell of kimchi weaves through the dining space, and wagyu beef dishes take the form of hot dogs and sausages, completing the fusion of Asian and North American flavors that Korean-American brothers Kyu and Kevin Lee envisioned when they created the eatery. Known as “Q the butcher,” Kyu takes great pride in his meats, aging them carefully to bring out their full flavor; his wet-aged steaks sit for at least 20 days as 8-ounce filet mignon and 14-ounce ribeye cuts, and his dry-aged meats rest for a minimum of 50 days within the restaurant’s refrigeration unit atop a memory-foam mattress before being shaken awake and cooked.
Instead of sticking to the dishes of one cuisine, Chef B. Darius of Cuisine 16 chose to use his diverse set of cooking skills to make dishes from throughout the world. The resulting menu is a mix of the nation's signature plates, including the cumin-sprinkled meatballs of Morocco and the tilapia rubbed in Creole spices. Some of his dishes even blend the flavors of multiple cuisines. Fried chicken comes slathered in spicy Korean barbecue sauce, and bananas are replaced by plantains in the creamy plantains foster. Chef B. Darius welcomes guests to order a la carte to sample one favorite flavor or be order tapas so they can mix and match flavors without going on a weird game show.