Saturday, January 11, 2014

A belly busting lunch at the 'House of Good Taste'

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.


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.

Meatless bibimbap

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.

Belly buster

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.

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