Sunday, May 19, 2013

Nibbling around the edges in Asian Fort Lee

Ramen Setagaya, one of the newerJapanese restaurants in Fort Lee, has expanded its menu and begun offering discounts and free food to lure customers during the week, below.

I've been enjoying the wide array of Asian food in Fort Lee for more than a decade -- at both new and well-established restaurants.

The restaurant scene is constantly changing, reflecting the large infux of Korean immigrants, but new Japanese restaurants have opened to serve the borough's original Asian community.

The Cheap Beer Depot on Route 4 in Fort Lee is closed, above, but the no-luggage Courtesy Motel remains open to some of the worst reviews ever, below. One tourist compared his room to a jail cell. I enjoyed many great meals in the motel's Japanese restaurant, where the female servers wore traditional outfits, but it closed several years ago.
The Japanese restaurant was on the first floor. I got a kick out of  motel guests walking in, looking over the menu of sushi and other items, and asking if the restaurant served steak and a baked potato.

Ramen Setagaya opened on Main Street in Fort Lee, around the corner from the well-established Batten Ramen on Center Avenue.

Prices for ramen, the noodle soup that has achieved cult status in Japan, are similar at both restaurants, but Batten Ramen is cash only.

We had an early dinner on Saturday at Ramen Setagaya, which is a branch of a small restaurant chain in Manhattan and Japan. 

Spicy Miso Ramen at Ramen Setagaya, above, and Deep Fried Oyster, below.

My wife ordered the delicious Spicy Miso Ramen ($11), which also is available on the vegetarian menu with tofu instead of pork.

The spicy ramen is the closest thing to her favorite Korean soft-tofu stew, which she always order "more spicy."

I ordered Deep Fried Oyster ($5.50), and got 4 plump orbs with molten interiors and non-greasy exteriors.

We shared Seafood Goyza ($5) and Shumai ($5), steamed shrimp dumplings.

Gyoza are available with several fillings.

Shumai with a dipping sauce.

Tofu Salad with sesame dressing.

The one disappointment was the Tofu Salad ($4.50), which is made mostly with forgettable iceberg lettuce.

Pepper oil and hot pepper flakes at Ramen Setagaya.

Free parking for Batten Ramen is available in the claustrophobic basement parking garage around the corner from its Center Avenue entrance.

Ramen Setagaya, 243 Main St., Fort Lee; 201-585-0739. BYO, metered street parking, closed Sundays. American Express cards not accepted.

Batten Ramen, 2024 Center Ave., in the Oak Tree Center, Fort Lee; 201-461-5465. BYO, open 7 days, cash only.


  1. That's not iceberg lettuce in the tofu salad you pictured.

  2. Yes it is. There were a few pieces of romaine, but most of the lettuce was bland iceberg, which isn't fit for human consumption.


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