Korean Lunch w/ Mom at Tang Two – NJ
I recently met up with my mom at the newly opened Tang Two in Fort Lee. I was craving Korean hot pot, and I saw it on the menu, and coming in from Manhattan on the bus, I didn’t want to stray too far beyond Fort Lee. Also, the restaurant being in the fancy Hudson Lights complex, I assumed it would be nice restaurant for a mother daughter lunch. For the most part, I was right. It’s a nice restaurant to take your parents or in-laws if they care about ambiance, but unfortunately, the food fell a bit short.
Going back to hot pot, the restaurant does have Korean hot pot (jungol, 전골), but the menu is expansive with lots of variety and combos, so we both got sidetracked and ended up ordering set meals instead.
My mom ordered the LA galbi + dolsot beef bibimbap set ($22.) The LA galbi (Korean short ribs; pictured above) was nicely charred on top, although you could tell the meat was never flipped as the meat underneath was pale and more steamed as opposed to grilled.
The dolsot beef bibimbap (stone pot beef mixed rice) came out hot, which was appreciated, but there wasn’t a lot of nurungji (crispy rice, 누룽지), and overall it was slightly bland.
I ordered the grilled atka mackerel (이면수) + blue crab soondubu stew set ($25). The soondubu stew could have been spicier and egg yolk in the stew was overcooked, but the blue crab thankfully wasn’t as it was soft and meaty.
The atka mackerel (이면수) was also cooked well with a nice char on top AND bottom.
Unfortunately, it was extremely bland. We asked for soy and wasabi after a few bites as it was completely underseasoned. It helped only a little.
Overall, the food at Tang Two leaned on the bland side, and I doubt I would return unless I happened to be entertaining non-Korean people who aren’t too adventurous. For me, the worst part was that there wasn’t any banchan (Korean side dishes) served with the meal outside of some sour kimchi and iceberg lettuce salad with Japanese carrot ginger dressing. This happens in fancy Korean restaurants in Manhattan and Brooklyn that cater to non-Koreans, but in Fort Lee where the demographic is around 25% Korean, it’s really not acceptable.
If you’re looking for a solid Korean meal in nicer digs, I would recommend Dong Bang Grill (동방그릴) nearby where the food is authentic and solid.
Visit Rating: 2.5/5 stars
Pro Tip: Good for a “safe” Korean meal in a nicer setting if you’re dining with people who may be squeamish about Korean food.