Sunday, September 23, 2012

In Little Seoul, a restaurant breaks the mold

Crab Cakes, above, and Caesar Salad, below, at the Korean-owned Crown Restaurant in Palisades Park. The restaurant opened on the site of a shuttered Greek diner.

The delicious salad came with a wedge of lemon and a crisp.

Dozens of restaurants, bakeries and caterers line Broad Avenue in Palisades Park, offering a wide array of dishes from Korea's healthy and colorful cuisine.

A few weeks ago, a new restaurant finally emerged from prolonged construction on the site of a shuttered Greek diner at Broad and East Brinkerhoff  avenues. 

Don't expect another diner or another mainstream Korean restaurant.

The menu at Crown Restaurant and Lounge offers tacos, pasta, pizza, salads, crab cakes and lettuce wraps, in addition to traditional Korean favorites.  

We had dinner there Saturday night, taking advantage of Happy Hour specials and ordering from a menu in use from 5 p.m. to the 2:30 a.m. closing.

Appetizers include grilled artichokes, hummus, a cheese plate and ceviche.

I started with a Happy Hour pint of Guinness Stout for $3.50, half the usual price, and a House Salad ($8).

My wife order another Happy Hour special, 10 Korean Wings in chili sauce for $6.

We shared a Classic Caesar Salad ($9), which I liked better than the one we had last weekend at Red Parrot Bistro in Englewood.

We ordered an entree called Lettuce Wrap ($13) -- Romaine lettuce leaves with cooked chicken, cucumber and mango.

Our other entrees were Crab Cakes ($16), which came under a blanket of salad, and Fish Jerky ($18), a Korean dish known as Jwee Po.

I was told rice was available on request, but the restaurant doesn't serve any of the side dishes or panchan that usually come with a Korean meal.

House Salad came with oil-and-vinegar dressing on the side.

Carrot and celery sticks are served with Korean Wings.

Lettuce Wrap with chicken, cucumber and mango.

Fish Jerky comes with chewy dried squid, left, and peanuts.

We were happy with all of our food, though I felt the sweet, leathery Fish Jerky with chewy squid and peanuts on the side is the kind of bar food that doesn't belong on a dinner menu.

It's a dish best consumed with many pints of cold beer or a bottle of soju. 

The young Korean-American men and women on the wait staff are eager to please, though the waiter taking our order showed his inexperience when he asked me which dressing we wanted with our Classic Caesar Salad.

Crown doesn't offer the low prices of a Korean soft-tofu house, but it's food is priced at about the same level as a meal in a cook-on-the-table barbecue restaurant, such as So Moon Non Jip, which is across the street.

I was disappointed Crown's menu didn't offer any fresh fish fillets or whole fish, a weakness I have found at most Korean-owned restaurants, which sell tons of squid, octopus, shrimp and shellfish. 

The restaurant serves breakfast from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. and lunch starting at 11:30, then closes for an hour at 4 p.m.

The Crown Restaurant interior is warm and inviting.

I was happy to see the closing of the Golden Eagle, a Greek diner, which town fathers allowed to operate around the clock.

However, many years ago, Palisades Park passed an ordinance ordering the growing number of 24-hour Korean restaurants to close for a few hours every night.

Crown Restaurant was under construction for 18 months, one of the employees said. I'm glad it's finally here.

It's also one of the few restaurants in the Little Seoul section of Palisades Park with a free parking lot. 

The entrance off the parking lot.

Crown Restaurant and Lounge, 243 Broad Ave., Palisades Park; 201-969-2796.

Web site: Crown Restaurant and Lounge

 Enhanced by Zemanta


  1. I don't know anybody calling this area 'Little Seoul'. It's kind of like calling Cedar Lane 'Little Israel'.

  2. No. It isn't . There are dozens of Korean places, far more than in Manhattan's Koreatown.

    I think Little Seoul is appropriate.

  3. Not all of the Koreans owning businesses in Palisades Park are even from Seoul. Therefore many business owners from Busan, Gwangju, or Daejeon would not agree with your designation of the town as 'Little Seoul'.


Please try to stay on topic.