After we placed our lunch order at Hansang Korean Restaurant in Palisades Park, the server brought over complimentary side dishes of kimchi, tofu, vegetables and seaweed, arranging them in a circle around a thin seafood pancake, above and below.
|The side dish of tofu, upper right, was served warm.|
By VICTOR E. SASSON
With up to three dozen restaurants, caterers, coffee shops and other food businesses, Broad Avenue in Palisades Park is the natural starting point for any serious exploration of Korean food.
But you'll find more Korean restaurants on another borough street, Bergen Boulevard, and that's where I met two friends for lunch on Monday.
None of the Bergen Boulevard restaurants I tried several years ago are still there.
I went inside three of the new or newish Korean places on Monday, and all looked promising.
Hansang, where we had lunch, laid out a total of nine complimentary side dishes, a larger number than most of the Korean restaurants I frequent regularly.
Our entrees were Bibimbap with Octopus, Kimchi Stew, and Soft-Tofu Stew with Seafood, the last two made spicy ($11.99 to $13.99).
There was so much tasty food we couldn't finish our side dishes or panchan.
I had a few minor complaints:
We were seated next to what turned out to be a noisy service counter.
The complimentary seafood pancake wasn't cut into wedges, making it hard to share.
And the stone-plate bimbimbap -- rice and shredded vegetables topped with octopus -- came without an egg or gochujang, a spicy red-pepper paste that is supposed to be served on the side.
Hansang served a white or water kimchi, lower left, instead of the traditional cabbage kimchi with red pepper.
|Bibimbap with Octopus was served on a hot stone plate.|
A Soft-Tofu Stew with Seafood included an unusually large clam and head-on shrimp.
Hansang Korean Restaurant, 520 Bergen Blvd., No. 8, Palisades Park; 1-201-592-1770. Open 7 days for lunch and dinner.