|Raw fish over rice at Woochun Restaurant in Palisades Park is dressed with a mildly spicy red-pepper paste from a squeeze bottle on the table, and served with six meatless side dishes and a small bowl of soup, below.|
Editor's note: Today, I discuss the Korean way of decontructing sushi, and a great bowl of clam chowder at Fairmount Eats in Hackensack.
Those Japanese rolls of fish, rice and seaweed called sushi are terrific, but the Koreans have managed to deconstruct and improve on this healthy combination.
Order raw fish over rice at Woochun Restaurant in Palisades Park, and the sushi chef will send over a large bowl of fresh salad greens, bean sprouts, cucumber and seaweed topped with a few ounces of fluke, salmon and tuna ($15.99).
The rice is served on the side, and I asked for brown instead of white. I also told the waitress to hold the tuna to cut down on mercury consumption.
|Woochun keeps metal chopsticks and spoons in a box on the table.|
I also ate the rice on the side, but I think I was supposed to put it in the big bowl, add lots of the red-pepper paste called gochujang and mix everything up like the classic Korean dish bibimbap -- rice, vegetables, ground meat and a fried or raw egg.
Along with the bowl of fresh spring mix and fish, I got six free side dishes: kimchi, greens, fish cake, radish, potatoes and ginger with hot pepper, plus soup and hot tea.
I couldn't finish all of that, plus a few more free side dishes I asked for, and took salad home.
The fluke in the dish may come from the live fish in large tanks at the back of the restaurant.
The next time I order raw fish over rice I'll ask only for the wild-caught fluke, which is terrific eaten cooked or raw.
|Near the rest rooms at the back of Woochun is a swinging door that leads to a Korean bar. The bar is BYO, serves food and is said to be a separate business.|
Woochun Restaurant, 280 Broad Ave, Palisades Park; 201-242-9999. Free parking on side streets.
|Manhattan Clam Chowder and a cup of organic coffee at Fairmount Eats.|
A briny bowl of soup
On Saturday, I stopped at Fairmount Eats in Hackensack for coffee and a bowl of soup, and was served a wonderful Manhattan Clam Chowder with fresh, tender clams ($3.45).
I liked it so much I ordered a second bowl and a second cup of organic coffee ($1.65 with free refill).
The light, briny broth was filled with potatoes, clam pieces and other ingredients.
Fairmount Eats, 641 Main St., Hackensack; 201-489-3287.