Sunday, April 3, 2016

Day trip to Closter: Cod cheeks and spicy Korean seafood soup to go

Jampong, a spicy seafood soup with noodles, can be ordered to go from Ewha Won, a Korean Chinese restaurant in the Closter Commons shopping center.
One take-out order of jampong yields two portions ($9.99). Today, I topped my breakfast bowl of soup with a fried organic egg and sauteed spinach.


After a relaxing haircut, manicure and pedicure in Korean-owned shops in Closter on Saturday, I took advantage of the small town's food offerings.

First, I stopped at Ewha Won, a popular Korean Chinese restaurant just a few steps from the barber and manicure shops in the Closter Commons shopping center on Piermont Road.

Then, I drove less than a half-mile to Closter's tiny downtown to visit The Fish Dock, a market which offers fresh wild-caught and antibiotic-free farmed fish from Iceland.

Ewha Won

If you order jampong from Ewha Won, the kitchen will cook the noodles and package them separately from the spicy fish soup, which includes mussels, shrimp and squid.

A woman who came in after me asked for uncooked noodles, explaining she likes to cook them herself in the soup when she gets home.

At home, I placed soup and noodles in a bowl, and reheated them for 3 minutes in a microwave, adding the black bean paste provided. Just delicious.

You also get raw onions and Korean pickles, but not the kimchi served in the restaurant for some reason. 

A day after I grilled meaty cod cheeks from The Fish Dock in Closter, I added pitted olives before reheating some of the leftovers gently in the microwave, and prepared pesto after they were ready.

Friendly Icelanders

The Fish Dock is owned and operated by four friendly Icelanders.

They say they pick up their fresh Icelandic fish right off of the plane at Newark International Airport only a day or two after it is caught.

You can find fillets of Icelandic cod and haddock at Costco Wholesale in Teterboro, but The Fish Dock's variety goes far beyond that.

I've never seen cod cheeks at Costco.

And you only need to cook The Fish Dock's raw-fish and vegetable medleys for under 15 minutes before dinner is served.

Both cod cheeks and the fish medley were terrific.

Dongyang Barber

Why drive 10 miles for a haircut?

At Closter Dongyang Barber Shop, the owner cuts my hair with a scissor, shaves my neck with a straight razor and then finishes by vacuuming and massaging my head ($20).

Perfect 20, the manicure salon, is just across the courtyard, and I can bring in a cup of coffee from the Korean bakery next door.

At The Fish Dock, I bought 1 pound of raw Golden Redfish with tomato, spinach, olives and feta cheese, and only had to pop the uncovered aluminum takeout container into a preheated 400-degree oven for less than 15 minutes before serving the dish ($16.99 a pound).

The Fish Dock also sells the biggest fish cheeks I've ever seen, from Icelandic codfish ($12.99 a pound). I marinated them in the juice of a plump Meyer Lemon (a cross between a lemon and mandarin orange); seasoned them and cooked them for less than 10 minutes on a stove-top grill. 

The Fish Dock's modest storefront. Street parking is free.

A loyalty program earns you money with your initial purchase at The Fish Dock.

A pound of this fish medley can serve two, if you add a side dish or salad at home. The Fish Dock make preparing dinner a snap. An employee even applied spray oil to the takeout container before adding the medley, and wrote the simple cooking instructions on the label.


Ewha Won, 570 Piermont Road, B-9, Closter; 201-767-6610. Web site: Korean Chinese Cuisine

The Fish Dock, 219A Closter Dock Road, Closter; 201-564-7939. Web site: Pure -- Fresh -- Fish

Closter Dongyang Barber Shop, 570 Piermont Road, C-7, Closter; 201-767-4541. Cash only. Closed Wednesdays. 

Perfect 20 Nail and Spa, 570 Piermont Road, B-5, Closter; 201-750-7370.

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