Craving a little ambiance with your Korean BBQ? You’ll find it at Gayeon (pronounced Gä-Yuhn) Restaurant in Fort Lee, whose name, translated from Korean, literally means “beautiful encounter.” This ain’t your average Korean BBQ joint. The sister restaurant to Michelin-recommended Gaonnuri in Manhattan, this upscale Korean culinary spot recently celebrated its grand opening across from the iPic Theater at the new Hudson Lights in Fort Lee, and we’ve been eagerly anticipating it for months now.
We stopped in last week and were blown away by the experience. Just walking to our table was a visual joy, with sleek and sophisticated décor surrounding us at every turn. This is a serious, great-for-groups dining spot. Every table is equipped with a smokeless hibachi-style built-in grill in the center of the table, just in case you opt for one of Gayeon’s many Korean BBQ selections (and you will, if you know what’s good for you!).
As far as the menu goes, it’s long. Of course they have the requisite Bibimbap, but oh, they have so much more. For our appetizers, we selected the Mushroom Tangsoo ($17), perfect bites of sweet and savory Portobello mushrooms and asparagus topped with a cinnamon vinaigrette; the Haemul Pajun ($24) an assortment of super-fresh seafood served with Korean-style scallion pancakes, and an order of steamed or fried red meat dumplings called Pyunsoo ($15).
Next, it was on to the main course. We went with Mool Naeng Myun ($16), which is buckwheat noodles in beef broth served ice cold; minced grilled beef short ribs called Dduk Galbi ($18), which was perfectly seasoned, and an order of Seoul Bulgogi ($19), which is a thinly sliced boneless rib eye steak in Gayeon’s house marinade. Each dish came with small side dishes called banchan.
Definitely give this place a go if you’re looking for a fresh and sophisticated dining experience. It’s also a great place to dip your toe in to the Korean food waters for the first time. Heck, even take the kiddos, because grilling their own dinner never gets old.
2020 Hudson St., Fort Lee NJ