Outside of Organic Tofu House, a bowl of pork tofu stew, kimchi banchan, and marinated beef
Ridgewood, New Jersey has always been the place to go to for dinner while I was growing up in nearby Franklin Lakes. You'll come across a little bit of everything just by walking around the small downtown area: Indian, Thai, Chinese, Japanese, Greek, Italian, pizza, steak, burgers, and more. However, one cuisine that was noticeably missing to me was Korean. Bergen County is full of Koreans; why wasn't there more Korean food action in Ridgewood?
When my mom told me in the beginning of the year that one of the many Japanese restaurants (seriously, there's at least four within walking distance of each other) located in the shopping center next to the Whole Foods was replaced by a restaurant called Organic Tofu House, I was overjoyed. No, not because I have a burning love for organic tofu, but because I knew that this had to be a place that specialized in Korean tofu stew, aka my favorite tofu dish. Now it's one of my favorite places to go for dinner.
The egg doesn't stay raw for long!
Well, obviously you need to get a bubbling pot of spicy Korean tofu stew, or soon dubu jigae. If you're against eating anything with tofu as the central ingredient, now is the time to get over it. What's not to love in a spoonful of super soft, jiggly tofu plops in a red pepper-laden soup mixed with your choice of a non-tofu accompaniment (including soybean, mushroom, seafood, beef, kimchi, oyster, clam or pork)? As long as you're not allergic to soy or adverse to spicy foods, you should be content with this dish (and if you're anything like me, it'll become one of your favorite "comfort foods"). Organic Tofu House serves their stew with steamed rice and a raw egg for you to crack into the boiling mini-cauldron. Don't worry; it'll cook.
If you're like my brother and refuse to eat anything with tofu as the main ingredient, they also have meat and rice dishes on the menu, including broiled eel, marinated beef, spicy marinated pork, marinated prime beef short rib, and broiled squid. I haven't actually tried these dishes, but my brother seemed pleased enough with the marinated beef.
And the seafood pancake shrinks as it is attacked by chopsticks.
I'm a huge fan of the seafood pancake, or haemul pajun. While I wouldn't call myself an expert on Korean food, I've eaten a number of pajuns in my life—each one slightly different from the other aside from a few common central ingredients—and Organic Tofu House's version is by far my favorite. It's heavy on the scallions, squid, and shrimp, light on the flour, and just slightly crisp on the outside, soft on the inside. It's also seemingly the size of a hubcap and best shared between four people. Not to say that two people couldn't polish this off if hungry enough; my mom and I have gotten frighteningly close.
It's easy to fill up on banchan.
The banchan are also very good and fresh. Prepare your stomach by starting with salad, soybean sprouts in sesame oil, steamed vegetables, dried fish, potato sticks, and of course, kimchi.
What's Not So Good?
Location: it's in suburban New Jersey. Also, they're closed on Sundays.
Organic Tofu House
Address: 88 Godwin Ave, Ridgewood, NJ 07450 (map)
Organic Tofu House: Ridgewood Finally Has Korean Food [The Girl Who Ate Everything]