|Stone-bowl bibimbap is one of South Korea's great, non-spicy comfort dishes. At Gammeeok Restaurant in Fort Lee, the rice-based dish is served with a spicy red-pepper paste on the side.|
|Gammeeok, which means "House of Good Taste," is known for its kimchi service and its deliciously sweet and spicy fermented radish and cabbage with extra sauce.|
By VICTOR E. SASSON
Every Korean meal comes with unlimited free side dishes or panchan, but it pays to have a native at your table to get the full benefit.
I met friends for lunch on Friday at Gammeeok Restaurant in Fort Lee, and one of them brought a visiting South Korean judge as his guest.
During our meal, the judge explained that the simple bean-sprout soup served with my entree was considered as much of a free side dish as the wonderful cabbage and radish kimchi.
As such, I could ask for a second bowl. He did on my behalf.
|If you have the room, a second bowl of bean-sprout soup is free, too.|
I ordered Dolsot Bibimbap, a stone bowl filled with hot rice, vegetables, ground beef and a raw egg, and asked the waiter to hold the meat and tell the kitchen to cook the egg ($14.95).
When the bowl was set down in front of me, I spooned on gochujang, a spicy red-pepper paste, and mixed up everything before eating.
A friend who doesn't like spicy food ate his bibimbap without gochujang.
With unlimited cabbage and radish kimchi; two free bowls of soup and another complimentary side dish, fresh cabbage leaves dipped in bean paste, I couldn't finish the bibimbap, and took home a small container of leftovers.
I ate it for breakfast today with an egg-white frittata and leftover kale and spinach.
Gammeeok is known for its ox-tail soup -- Seolleong Tang -- a bland milky, rice-filled broth ($10.95), but there are bowls of chopped scallions and salt on the table for seasoning it.
The restaurant is still honoring $10-off and $20-off coupons that appeared in The Record of Woodland Park in August.
|A communal table and traditional low tables at Gammeeok.|
|My breakfast of leftover bibimbap.|
Gammeeok Restaurant, 485 Main St., Fort Lee; 201-242-1333; and 110 Broad Ave., 2nd Floor, Palisades Park; 201-945-6300.
Web site: Bibimbap and so much more
|The Fort Lee restaurant has valet parking and is open around the clock.|