Sunday, October 12, 2014

When the weather turns chilly, this $9.99 meal is sure to warm you up

I cracked two fresh eggs into my steaming stone bowl of Soft Tofu with Oysters at So Gong Dong Tofu & B.B.Q. in Palisades Park, and the yolks were poached perfectly.


The Korean soft tofu stew is as delicious as always, and the price for a comforting meal with steamed rice, four side dishes, a fresh egg and tea still is only $9.99.

But the place-mat menu is new, and the Palisades Park restaurant's name is longer, So Gong Dong Tofu & B.B.Q.

In addition to a Hartsdale, N.Y., branch, SGD Dubu has expanded to Glenview, Ill., a Chicago suburb, and soon will open another New Jersey branch in East Hanover.

To chase away the chilly weather on Saturday, we headed for So Gong Dong and another wonderful dinner of spicy soft tofu and a grilled seafood pancake.

Crunchy radish is one of the four side dishes that come with every soft-tofu meal, above and below.

Bean sprouts.

Cucumber and cabbage kimchis are the spicy side dishes, above and below.

The side dishes or panchan and a dipping sauce for the Pajun ($11.99), a large, grilled seafood and vegetable pancake made from rice flour.

New menu item

The revised place-mat menu lists a new item, Soft Tofu with Perilla seeds ($10.99), but when I asked about them, the waitress said I probably wouldn't like the taste.

So, I ordered my usual Soft Tofu with Oysters, but now I've learned the seeds are also known as wild sesame and the oil from them is rich in heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids.

Still, as I tucked into my soft tofu with perfectly poached egg yolks, crunchy side dishes and a wedge of seafood pancake, I felt this could very well be the perfect meal.

I didn't have white rice to keep the calorie count down, but did pry loose a few crunchy bits from the bottom of my wife's stone bowl.

You can ask for your soft tofu four ways, from "no spicy" to "more spicy." The seafood pancake is a non-spicy dish.

Soft tofu can be ordered plain, with seafood and 14 other ways.

Service is excellent, and a second or third set of side dishes can be had for the asking.

The simple setting for a delicious and inexpensive meal.

So Gong Dong Tofu & B.B.Q., 118 Broad Ave., Second Floor, Palisades Park; 201-313-5550. 

Open 7 days. Valet parking and free parking on side streets. Meters are in effect until 9 p.m.

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