Sunday, June 3, 2012

This lunch made us forget about dinner

Woochon has a waterfall in the dining room and tanks of live seafood.

Editor's note: Today, I describe two great ethnic meals at restaurants in Palisades Park and Hackensack.

I came across a real eye-opener while looking over the lunch menu at Woochon, a new Korean restaurant in Palisades Park:

Hangover Stew with Clotted Ox Blood. 

We stuck with more conventional food during our lunch on Thursday -- my wife and I shared entrees of Grilled Spanish Mackerel ($13.99) and Soft Bean Curd Stew with Seafood ($9.99).

A large mackerel fillet comes with pickled ginger, watercress and a lemon wedge.
The bean-curd stew is served in an usually large stone bowl.

Menu prices include the side dishes of vegetables, fish and meat Korean restaurants are known for. 

On Thursday, we received 11 small dishes with fish cake, translucent noodles, spring-mix salad, peanuts, dark-green seaweed, mushrooms, kimchi  and other items, and several were replenished during the meal.

The restaurant serves summer water kimchi and white kimchi instead of the spicier mahk kimchi, which is made with a lot of red pepper and garlic.

The entrees came with brown or white rice, and with the side dishes, I was so full, I skipped dinner.

I was happy with tea, fruit and cheese until bedtime.

Some of the seafood in my bean-curd stew --baby octopus and squid -- was chewy, but a large shrimp in the shell couldn't have been more tender.

We also loved the juicy, skin-on mackerel fillet -- which came with a small bowl of soft-tofu stew -- and all the side dishes or panchan were delicious.   

When we walked it, we were greeted with shouts of welcome from the staff.

At the end of the meal, a male waiter bowed and presented the check on a small tray. 

Ten of the 11 side dishes we were served, above and below.

The restaurant, affiliated with another of the same name in the Flushing section of Queens, offers a full menu of sushi, tofu and barbecue.

Woochon customers also can sit at a sushi bar, rear.
An outside sign and a summer specials menu list dishes only in Korean. The restaurant is housed in an old corner bank building on the main street in Palisades Park.

Woochon Restaurant, 280 Broad Ave., Palisades Park; 201-242-9999.


We had another wonderful dinner of seafood, tofu and vegetables at Wondee's in Hackensack on Saturday night, and the food looked as good as it tasted.

I remembered to grab a bottle of Mexican beer from the fridge, but forgot my iPhone and can't bring you photos of our meal.

Three of us had spicy shrimp-and-mushroom soup or wonton soup, an appetizer of fried tofu with a peanut dipping sauce, green papaya salad, large shrimp in a sweet chili sauce and stir-fried tofu with vegetables.

The shredded papaya is served over dark-green lettuce leaves you can use to wrap it, and the puddle of fish sauce-lemon juice dressing is terrific when eaten with a spoon. 

The wonderful shrimp came with a cabbage salad on the side. We ate white or brown rice.

We dined early, and three servers waited on us.

When we walked in, Chef Wandee Suwangbutra was having something to eat in the dining room before the expected rush of customers.

Wondee's Fine Thai Food and Noodles, 296 Main St., Hackensack; 201-883-1700 or 1715. Parking in rear, BYO.

Web site: Fine Thai Food

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  1. Glad you made it to Woochon. One of the best places in Pal Park.

    The naegmyeon there is pretty good, also. Although I still prefer Shinpo Restaurant's in Cliffside Park.

  2. I have tried cold noodles in a few places, including a restaurant in Closter Commons, where I go to have my hair cut by a Korean barber. But my wife is not a big fan of them.

    I haven't been to Shinpo, but when I was eating meat, we used to frequent BBQ Chicken and Beer, a Korean fried-chicken restaurant and bar on the other side of Anderson, for some of the spiciest chicken and coldest beer around.


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