Sunday, January 26, 2014

You can't beat this heart-warming $10 dinner

Fresh eggs poaching in "more spicy" Oyster Tofu, one of the many soft-tofu stews that are served steaming hot and boiling rapidly at So Gong Dong in Palisades Park.

Steamed rice in a stone bowl is included. If you have room, use your spoon to pry up the crunchy crust of rice at the bottom for a real treat at the end of the meal.


A comforting meal of Korean soft tofu, rice and side dishes never gets old, especially when  temperatures plunge and icy winds are blowing.

So Gong Dong in Palisades Park has held the line on a complete meal for $9.99, which is rounded up to $10 on the check and includes the tax.

On Saturday evening, four of us were served hot tea after we were seated in the second-floor restaurant's traditional dining room.

The meal includes a stone-bowl of steamed white rice that cooks to a crisp along the bottom, four side dishes and a fresh egg that you crack into the bubbling broth to poach and eat over rice.

You can order your tofu stew plain or with pork, seafood, kimchi and other items, and ask for it from "no spicy to more spicy."

The side dishes are cabbage kimchi, cucumber kimchi, bean sprouts and spicy raw squid, and as we finished them they were replaced without prompting.  

Fresh eggs with two of the side dishes and a dipping sauce for a seafood pancake we ordered.

Crunchy cucumber kimchi is one of our favorite side dishes.

Expanded menu

So Gong Dong has expanded its menu to include bibimbap, barbecued squid, and tofu soup with noodles or ramyun, and we've tried them all.

But the restaurant's strong suit is soft-tofu, and for $10, you get a meal that is comforting, delicious and filling.

We haven't found the same combination of taste, service and value at any other Korean tofu house in North Jersey, and there are many, in Fort Lee, Ridgewood and other communities.

Pajun is a pan-fried seafood pancake made from rice flour, squid and scallion ($11.99). It can be shared by four or more.

The place-mat menu offers more than a dozen kinds of soft-tofu stew.

So Gong Dong, 118 Broad Ave., Second Floor, Palisades Park; 201-313-5550. BYO (though the waiter on Saturday night wouldn't allow me to drink a beer I brought with me).  

Valet parking or free parking on side streets. Meters in effect until 9 p.m.

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