Mandoo Bar in Palisades Park unexpectedly changed ownership and is now a generic Korean restaurant. Eatclub calmly and cooly made an executive decision to check out a Korean noodle restaurant instead; one that the EC President has been raving about, You Chun Naeng Myun on Broad Ave.
You Chun Korean Restaurant
135 Broad Ave.
Palisades Park, NJ
You Chun specializes in naeng myun, a thin noodle typically served cold and ravenously slurped by Koreans during the warmer summer months. The restaurant has a clean layout and subtle indications that it does all it can to keep people waiting in the lines that can form out and around the building. A fully furnished waiting area is provided; complete with water cooler, hot coffee and tea, cookies, benches and TV that rivals the best hospitality from your favorite neighbor.
The restaurant was packed on a Tuesday evening at 8pm (after the usual dinner rush). It was warm out which explains why Pal Park’s Koreans scrambled over for some soothing cold noodles. Every customer was also Korean. Good signs.
The banchan was sparse as there was only one dish, thinly sliced radish kimchi. Also was the standard asian salad: iceberg lettuce with ginger-like dressing. But lo, there was something unique in that carafe: not hot tea but hot broth. Seasoned beef stock to be exact. It was a little salty but tasty nonetheless.
What is naeng myun you ask? Basically it is thin noodles traditionally served in a stainless steel bowl with either a cold broth [and kept cold with ice] or mixed with vegetables. Toppings include pickled radish, raw zucchini, asian pear, and halved boiled egg. It is a savory, tangy, spicy and altogether refreshing dish. See more here: Wiki
Ym and Paul ordered the bibim naeng myun, mixed cold noodles while I opted for the hwe naeng myun, cold noodle with spicy marinated raw fish (think ceviche). The noodles were unique here as they have a darker brown color made from special flour (chilk naengmyeon) with supposed health and nutritional benefits. Notice the shaved ice marinade, a nice way to keep the bowl cold instead of the usual plain ice cubes.
Hwe Naeng Myun
Bibim Naeng Myun
Overall, I was only somewhat pleased with my dish. It was way too marinated and overpowering with saltiness, sweetness, spiciness, and sourness. At $12, it was pricey for noodles and could have included more fish. All of us were very full however. You Chun deserves a second chance but this time I will for sure try mool naeng myun, the standard cold korean noodle.
Brown noodles definitely different.
Clean and efficient.
Free food/drink before youre even seated.
Hwe naeng myun oversauced.
Can get very crowded, especially at peak times.
Pricey for a bowl of noodles
Be prepared for mega kimchi-breath afterwards. No worries however, the immaculately clean and well furnished restroom has mouthwash for your rinsing pleasure so that your hot date can continue.
BBQ Chicken – BONUS REVIEW!
BBQ Chicken (off Broad Ave.)
Palisades Park, NJ
BBQ Chicken is supposedly straight from Korea and it was obvious. From the strange name, the crazy color scheme, to the outrageous claims, it is definitely an Asian import. Their motto is: “It’s not barbecue chicken, it’s BBQ.” And since when is “BBQ” chicken cooked in 100% extra virgin olive oil? (blank stare)
The steam vent/handle/signage shows Korean ingenuity. The packaging shows Korean FOB.
Sweet, salty, pungent fermented radish. The perfect accoutrement to the crisp bird.
Whole CRISPY fried chicken.
Nonsensical marketing campaign aside, the fried chicken was gooood. Not heavily seasoned and the least greasy fried chicken I ever had that was still juicy and moist. Even after a 10 minute car ride, it was still extra crispy and tongue burning hot. Be warned: chicken is made to order and ours took 25 minutes to make, so be sure to call ahead. Also, it ain’t cheap ($20 for whole fried chicken) so avoid if you’re on a budget. Still, it blows KFC out of the water and is a good example of what Korean-style fried chicken is all about.