|Image via Wikipedia|
|Side dishes such as these are one of the best parts of a Korean meal, though no North Jersey restaurant serves them in such abundance.|
The vibrant colors and flavors of Korean food are hard to match, and I try to enjoy them every week, keeping prepared items in my refrigerator and eating out in new and old places.
I am also really loving the "The Kimchi Chronicles" on Thirteen, a PBS TV station in New York.
The series explores Korean dishes prepared with meat, poultry, fish, vegetables and tofu -- in restaurants and in the kitchen.
On Saturday, I had dinner at East Seafood Restaurant on Grand Avenue in Palisades Park, where the windowless dining room is below street level, under a billiard hall.
This place is off the beaten path in Palisades Park, which has more Korean restaurants than any other town in North Jersey, but it has been around for years.
Now, it has a new name, and the waitress said it has a new owner.
Unfortunately, the new owner not only just stretched a banner over the old name on the outside of the building, he left untouched the worn interior and linoleum floor I remember from a lunch a few years ago.
That's too bad, because the spicy monk-fish stew, or tang, I chose included eight side dishes, including a small grilled fish in a sweet-and-sour sauce ($14.99).
This is also the only restaurant I know with large tanks of live fish, lobster and abalone. You can ask for a small fluke to be served to you raw as sashimi.
(The New York Times reported in 2004 it is illegal in the United States to serve raw fish unless it has been frozen first to kill parasites.)
I had hoped I could order one of the live fish and grill it on the table, as I saw Koreans do in the "The Kimchi Chronicles," but I couldn't.
After I ordered the monk-fish stew, I received a small bowl of rice porridge and six side dishes -- cabbage kimchi, seasoned scallions, pickled jalapeno peppers, crunchy cooked broccoli, bean sprouts and sweetened black beans.
Later, the waitress brought me the small, whole fish and steamed rice. The stew contained tofu and a head-on shrimp, in addition to monk fish and vegetables.
"Dong Hae Restaurant" appears on the credit-card slip. Whatever it's called, I won't be going back.
East Seafood Restaurant, 445 Grand Ave., Palisades Park;
201-461-4447. Valet parking, liquor license.
Korean food at home
Earlier Saturday, I drove to H Mart in Fort Lee for some of my favorite prepared dishes.
Stewed wild-caught Alaska pollock ($5.99) and stewed tofu ($3.49) are seasoned with scallions and onions or garlic; red pepper, sesame oil or soy sauce, and sesame seeds.
Kimbap is a sliced sushi roll of seaweed, seasoned rice, crunchy vegetables and crab, garnished with a few Korean pickles ($4.99).
A few pieces of tofu and kimbap, warmed in the microwave, made for a tasty breakfast today.
Web site: H Mart