A steaming egg souffle in a stone bowl is one of the complimentary side dishes served at So Moon Nan Jib, a popular Korean barbecue restaurant in Palisades Park.
By VICTOR E. SASSON
When you walk into the dining room at So Moon Nan Jib, the faint but distinct smell of smoke is a sure sign of the Korean barbecue feast to come.
On Saturday, we were delighted to find not much has changed at the popular Korean barbecue restaurant since our last meal (in 2011), except the prices.
Me and my wife were served by a waitress we knew from past visits, and she was just as attentive, cooking our food over a wood-charcoal fire, serving us an array of complimentary side dishes and bringing us more when we finished one of them.
Korean barbecue is a fun meal as you wrap your food in red-leaf lettuce, add rice, kimchi, garlic or all three, and stuff the package into your mouth.
The Korean kitchen is a cornucopia of colors, textures and flavors -- sweet, spicy, salty and vinegary.
Though I stopped eating meat years ago, we had dinner there last weekend, because my wife can choose beef or pork barbecue, and I can order shrimp.
To cook at a table with a wood-charcoal grill, you have to order a minimum of two barbecue entrees -- such as beef, pork, tongue, chicken breast or jumbo shrimp, each costing a minimum of $25.99.
We ordered Bulgogi, thin slices of marinated sirloin ($27.99, compared to $28.99 in 2011), and a dozen butterflied Jumbo Shrimp ($31.99, compared to $24.99 six years ago).
Using long metal tongs, an employee places two containers holding wood charcoal into the opening of your table before they are covered with a grill.
Bulgogi, top, and butterflied shrimp cook quickly over the hot wood charcoal, above and below.
A small meatless portion of japchae -- translucent yam noodles with mushrooms, onions and sweet peppers -- was $7.99.
I always thought this complimentary drink offered at the end of the meal contained sweetened yogurt, but ingredients listed include water, fructose corn syrup, sugar, skim-milk powder and glucose.
|The dining room at So Moon Nan Jib.|
|Waiters and waitresses will do most of the cooking for you.|
|So Moon Nan Jib has been packing them in for about 20 years.|