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.
Sushi Maru’s chefs prepare a menu of maki rolls and traditional Korean hotpots in an eatery reminiscent of a Tokyo sushi bar. Delicate porcelain figurines enliven the BYOB restaurant, which otherwise dons a decidedly romantic vibe by combining dark wood accents, glowing paper lanterns, and a friendly staff well-versed in the entire Tom Jones catalog. Table and sushi-bar seating both offer comfortable perches from which to enjoy more than two dozen regular and specialty rolls, with choices that range from traditional california and spicy-tuna options to contemporary updates such as a caribbean roll topped with baked lobster salad.
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.
Though BC Chicken—formerly Bonchon Chicken—may have changed its name, its menu still centers on poultry. Here, diners get their fix with crispy fried wings or drumsticks dressed in soy-garlic sauce. The Asian-inspired marinade hints at dishes included in the expanded menu, which features pot stickers stuffed with chicken or hot shrimp. Beef makes an appearance in the form of Korean-style bulgogi, which is the basis for the cheeseburger buried under kimchi coleslaw and the beef tacos with soy sauce and onions. Set to the backdrop of the bar’s 70-inch projection screen, meals are complemented by helpings of fried Oreos.
A hip and colorful destination, Mariachi Bar and Restaurant supplies its guests with everything from dancing to stir fry. Serving a menu of pan-Asian cuisine, the kitchen fries and sautes ribs, rice cakes, and giant octopi for visitors to snack on before they hit the bar for pitchers of beer. Frequent events light up the dance floor, and a nightly happy hour held seven days a week offers specials on drinks and snacks.