Sunday, June 17, 2012

Korean food is ready for its close-up

Fresh, crunchy cabbage kimchi is one of four side dishes served at So Gong Dong.

So Gong Dong -- a popular soft-tofu restaurant in Palisades Park -- has been making a number of changes, from adding new dishes to changing servers' shirts from burgundy to red.

But the signature soft-tofu stew, rice, fresh eggs and four side dishes are as good as ever, and a complete, filling meal costs only $9.99. 

The second-floor entrance to So Gong Dong.
I ordered my soft tofu "more spicy," and broke two eggs into the bubbling broth.

A seafood pancake comes with a soy-based dipping sauce.

The Korean table is one of the most approachable, especially if you don't eat meat, but I see only a handful of non-Asians at So Gong Dong and other restaurants in Palisades Park, a center of the cuisine.

There is a good selection of non-spicy dishes, and an abundance of healthy tofu and vegetables.

The broth for soft-tofu stew is made from beef bones, but on request, So Gong Dong will use hot water, and make the stew as spicy or mild as you like.

A second kimchi is made from cucumbers, but you also get fresh bean sprouts.

Korean beef ribs are available for carnivores.

The four complimentary side dishes served with the tofu stew include three vegetables and highly spiced raw squid.

In addition to soft tofu, available plain and with meat or seafood, So Gong Dong is now serving rice-based bibimbap, and cold and hot noodle soups.

We've always had great service, but a button on each table allows you to ring a buzzer (or is it a bell?), and summon a server.

So Gong Dong, 118 Broad Ave., 2nd Floor, Palisades Park; 201-313-5550. Valet parking and free parking on side streets.
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