Scrumptious new N.J. Korean restaurant challenges native legends
Fort Lee and Palisades Park might have a stronghold on New Jersey’s prime Korean eating places, however Ridgefield is popping out swinging with newcomer, Karden 630.
After working a profitable catering enterprise in Fort Lee, the Chung household opened Karden in April within the former Chan’s Dragon Inn area at 630 Broad Ave.
“My mother noticed a void in Ridgefield and wished to open up a restaurant that was cozy and welcoming,” shared supervisor, Eden Chung. “We do plenty of conventional Korean recipes however have added in some twists, like perilla seed pasta, truffle potato jeon and rice cake zeppoli.”
I ended in throughout prime time on a Friday night time to take a look at the scene and the way it could stack up towards among the stronger Korean spots I’ve tried in northern Jersey. The required valet parking was a pleasant contact, and instantly set off an inside alarm that I used to be doubtlessly about to enter a Korean-inspired club-staurant. Fortunately, that was not the case. Let’s dig in.
Issues began off on a excessive observe with the truffle potato jeon ($13), one among Karden’s signature dishes. Giant, crispy bricks of shredded potato had been fried till golden brown, topped with parmesan and black pepper, and served with a truffle aioli that wasn’t overpowering. Every oily chew shattered like glass, and made for the proper appetizer earlier than the principle occasion.
Karden’s menu is filled with basic Korean dishes like bibimbap and beef tartare in spicy chilly broth, however the first-timer transfer is unquestionably the hanpan for 2 ($119). A smorgasbord of effervescent facet dishes and lettuce cups had been set down on a lazy Susan, completed with a choice of three smoked meats that had been positioned within the heart. Served alongside had been a choice of condiments like gochujong, uncooked cucumbers and wasabi paste, two servings of white rice, a alternative of soup / stew, and two highball cocktails.
I cherished the interactive nature of this dish, in addition to my capability to regulate flavors and spice ranges. The edges and condiments had been stronger than the proteins. I dug into the fluffy egg, a salty, souffled cloud sprinkled with onion, and in addition loved the spicy, tofu-packed kimchi stew. The white rice was cooked completely and I discovered myself wanting extra of the grilled greens, which had been extra of a garnish than facet dish. Parmesan coated French fries appeared like an unlikely addition, however they had been scorching and scrumptious.
The perfect protein on the platter was the Korean fried hen, little morsels of tender hen fried crispy, tossed in a candy and spicy sauce and topped with sesame seeds. I may see Karden having a profitable takeout enterprise with these and their French fries.
On the whole, the smoked meats within the hanpan for 2 had been a let down. The perfect of the three was the marinated pork galbi, which was moist, decently tender and soaked in a tasty soy-based marinade. The meat rib and home smoked bacon had been each flavorful, however too contact and chewy to be loved. I averted them and targeted on the fried hen and pork.
The rice muffins had been one other miss, served in units of three on toothpicks and coated in a sticky sauce. They lacked taste and the gummy texture, for me, was off-putting. We ended the meal with Karden’s model of zeppoli, which we had been informed had been fried dough, however had been truly battered and fried rice muffins topped with honey and powdered sugar. I noticed what they had been attempting to realize however general, they didn’t meet my Italian-blooded expectations. The home-made ice cream tasted like a Breyer’s French vanilla clone in a great way, but suffered from slight freezer burn. I later came upon that the Chung household used to personal an ice cream store, and use easy, premium components to make the ice cream served on the restaurant. With a full bar, I anticipated Karden’s cocktails to be strong, however sadly the highballs served with the hanpan had been cloyingly candy.
The Chung household did properly to curate Karden 630′s inside design and aesthetic. The doorway greets visitors with a man-made grass wall and neon signal, however past that, they’re welcomed by a chic, Scandinavian-style, minimalist eating room. Mild woods, impartial colours and easy, clear traces supply an expertise that feels elevated. A small open kitchen permits visitors to get a glimpse of the cooks doing their factor because the servers whiz out and in with their creations. American pop music floods the eating room, one other apparent twist on custom. Two non-public eating rooms are constructed out subsequent to the bar, which is glossy and basic. The ambiance was, general, surprisingly vibrant for a way mellow the group was.
The underside line
Karden 630 is a brilliant, usually scrumptious addition to Ridgefield’s eating scene and certainly fills the Korean eating places void — should you’re not keen to drive a city or two over to Palisades Park and Fort Lee. The area is open and alluring and works properly for date nights, household dinner and enormous events. The menu is expansive and appeals to quite a lot of palettes with a variety of conventional Korean to fusion dishes. Karden 630 is open Tuesday via Sunday for lunch and dinner. They plan to supply later hours throughout the weekend within the close to future.
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Stephanie Rizzolo could also be reached at email@example.com. Discover NJ.com on Fb.