Monday, May 30, 2011

HON SUSHI - A rare opportunity to enjoy traditional Korean cuisine in Mercer County

DOLSOT BIBIMBOP 돌솥비빔밥 (14.95) 
(bibimbop in hot stone bowl) 

Those of us living in central Jersey have to admit we are rather spoiled by the variety of dining options within easy commute. So much so, that it’s easy to forget that one segment of Asian cuisine is under-represented in our area: Korean. 

HARU MAKI (6.95) 
This Japanese Spring Roll was a tasty appetizer

I was recently invited to join several other food writers and bloggers for a tasting at Hon Sushi, a Korean and Japanese restaurant located in the Mercer Mall Shopping center. It was there, while enjoying the hospitality of owners John & Kim Lim and the company of fellow scribes, that I learned that there are only a handful of restaurants serving Korean fare in Mercer County. That may explain my inexperience and confessed lack of knowledge regarding Korean food. 

JOBCHAE 잡채 (15.95) 
(vermicelli noodle w/ assorted veggies & beef) 

Fortunately restaurant manger Tony Kay was on hand to explain some of the offerings. Such as the Dolsot Bibimbop in the video below, which finishes cooking while being stirred in the hot stone bowl serving bowl.

What I do know about Korean food is that it’s emphasis on vegetable and cooking techniques makes it one of the world’s healthier cuisines. According to Tony, what sets Hon Sushi apart from similar restaurants is its “consistency, authenticity and quality, fresh ingredients.” 

My favorite dish of the night: KALBI 갈비 (22.95)
(marinated & grilled beef ribs w/ garlic sauce) 

The restaurant makes it own Kimchi, the traditional spicy cabbage dish, which Tony and others at my table, claimed is often store bought for convenience. In addition to sampling several dishes, we were entertained with this dramatic presentation:

Beautifully designed with generously spaced wood grained tables and sleek lines, Hon Sushi is a perfect “date” restaurant. Open for just two years, it has established a loyal following, including a number of managers from nearby pharmaceutical companies Taiho and Otsuka. The owners are hoping to expand that base with activities such as this tasting. The consensus from our group was that we would definitely return.

All of our meals and beverages (non alcoholic) were complimentary. The menu prices range from moderate to slightly expensive. The few higher priced items that we tasted were generous enough portions for sharing.  The restaurant is BYOB and they will chill your wine or beer and warm your Sake. The restaurant will accommodate special restrictions such as  gluten free diets and, in my case, a shellfish allergy. 

"Bubble" Tea, made with tapioca, 
sweetbut delicious. 
3349 Brunswick Pike, just off Route 1 South
Lawrenceville, NJ 
Open 7 days a week for lunch and dinner.
Thanks go out to PR specialist Katie DeVito for arranging the event, to the Lims for hosting, and to the bloggers and foodies for their excellent company. An extra special thank you to my friends at The Blog that Ate New Jersey who recommended my invite to Katie. You can read her excellent version of the evening here.
I would love to read comments from those that have been there, or from Japanese and Korean food lovers.

1 comment:

  1. I guess I have my 15 seconds of fame! Great post with nicely-captioned photos/video.

    I have been to a lot of Korean restaurants, and I thought this restaurant was up there. The standards were fine, such as bibim bap and jap chae, and there were unusual dishes too. I missed all the freebie small plate appetizers that you get at places like Woo Jeon in Edison, but the food was good enough to make up for it.