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Saturday, May 6, 2017

Eating out in Fort Lee: Bento box at Hiura, a belly busting combo at BCD Tofu House

A delicious, well-balanced bento box lunch at Hiura Restaurant in Fort Lee includes, clockwise from upper left, sashimi, tempura, salad and grilled skin-on mackerel; small bowls of white rice and dipping sauce, top; plus miso soup and unlimited green tea.
On Thursday afternoon, I found sushi master Noboru Hiura working behind the sushi bar, just as he has since opening his 25-seat restaurant in 1991.


FORT LEE -- Little has changed since my last lunch at Hiura, the oldest and best Japanese restaurant in a town that boasts more Asian food than any other in northern New Jersey.

In August 2013, I counted 24 seats at glistening butcher-block tables and a sushi bar; on Thursday, I counted 25, all of them filled before lunch service ended.

I found sushi master Noboru Hiura slicing fish and serving customers seated at the sushi bar, as he has since he opened his eponymous restaurant in 1991.

Before we left, Chef Shoji Hiura, who runs the small kitchen, joined his father behind the bar, and we chatted. 

I remember Shoji as a teenage waiter in his family's first restaurant in Fort Lee, Hodaka, a BYO that offered both Japanese and Chinese fare, and kept customers' sake bottles in a back room. 

Hiura Box

On Thursday, the Hiura Box lunch of grilled skin-on mackerel -- a wonderfully oily fish -- sliced raw fish, and shrimp and vegetable tempura was a seafood lover's delight ($16).

My friend Arthur enjoyed his Salmon Teriyaki lunch or bento box with California Roll, Gyoza, salad, rice, soup and green tea ($11.50).

These moderately priced lunches and a full menu of cooked food have always been available as Hiura has evolved into a high-end sushi and sashimi restaurant.

Salmon Teriyaki Lunch Box at Hiura.
Lunch boxes include miso soup, rice and green tea.
The Hiuras served us complimentary sweet melon pieces to end our meal.


Hiura Restaurant, 400B Main St., near Anderson Avenue, Fort Lee; 1-201-346-0110. BYO, closed Wednesdays.

Entrance in rear, up a flight of stairs, off small parking lot on Anderson Avenue shared with larger Korean restaurant next door; valet parking available at dinner.

Lunch served from noon to 2 p.m. on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays.

Dinner served every day except Wednesdays starting at 5:30 p.m.

A new appetizer at BCD Tofu House in Fort Lee: Kale Veggie Dumplings, fried or steamed, stuffed with kale, spinach, vermicelli noodles and tofu. The maraschino cherry garnish was unexpected.
An array of complimentary side dishes, including a fried whole croaker, are served with every soft-tofu stew or other entree at the Korean restaurant.

At BCD Tofu House

Contrast the modest though filling portions at Hiura with the belly busting meals of organic soft-tofu stew complete with steamed white rice, a fresh whole egg and seven complimentary side dishes (with seconds, if you have room) at BCD Tofu House in Fort Lee.

At dinner last Sunday, we ordered Kale Veggie Dumplings ($7.20) to share and two entrees, Organic Soft-Tofu Stew with Shrimp ($13.66); and a Chef's Special, Spicy Small Octopus Rice Deluxe with Tofu Soup ($16.99).

I especially liked how the white rice was browned and burnished by the hot stone bowl.

There were enough leftovers from my delicious combination meal -- including the restaurant's terrific cabbage kimchi -- for light dinners at home the following two nights.

My wife received Soft-Tofu Stew with Seafood, instead of all shrimp, as she requested, but that was quickly corrected.

Baby octopus, white rice and shredded vegetables are prepared in a stone bowl for the Spicy Small Octopus Rice Deluxe.
The Chef's Special combination included a Vegetable Tofu Soup made with vegetarian broth that was bubbling so furiously I was able to cook two fresh eggs in it, below.

We got to BCD Tofu House around 4:30 on Sunday afternoon before the dinner rush. The popular Korean restaurant also has a children's playroom parents can monitor from TVs in the dining rooms.


BCD Tofu House, 164o Schlosser St., in shopping center near Main Street, Fort Lee; 1-201-944-2340. 

Open 7 days from 10:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. Serves alcohol.

Website: Is soondubu a soup or a stew?

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