Koreander Opens on Watchung Plaza

Koreander, a “fusion” restaurant offering a mix of Korean and Japanese food, opened at the corner of Watchung and North Fullerton Ave on Saturday. The restaurant, occupying the former space of Qba and Orbis, was bustling with lunch patrons this afternoon. One diner, tucking into a fried dumpling (which comes in a choice of shrimp, chicken, beef or vegetable), pronounced it delicious and had a large doggie bag to take away, too.Choices range from Bibimbab burger (at $8.99), a twist on the egg and veggie-topped Korean rice dish, to Kimchi or Bulgogi Taco at $5.99 and $6.99, as well as a ream of sushi rolls. Koreander will likely get a hearty welcome from fans of Asian food, though perhaps, not so much from a rival that’s also located in Watchung Plaza – Sushi Koshi, which celebrated its first anniversary recently.

Baristanet review to come.

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  1. Given the famously brutal treatment of the Koreans by the Japanese throughout history (ending with WWII, “comfort women” and so on), I always find the idea of Korean-Japanese restaurants (let alone ones which are “fusing” tacos th such cuisine) somewhat upsetting. I realize this is basically just a matter of extending one’s reach to customers,but even the element of calculation in melding Korean food to Japanese food (especially given that sushi always makes me feel I’m eating someone else’s idea of bait), it doesn’t sit right.

  2. Guess you don’t approve of Tex-Mex, either.

    And I’ll be sure to tell all the pub owners I know to get fish and chips off the menu.

  3. Fish and chips are usually cooked, croiagusanam. (But perhaps you can simply never wait when you see a nice piece of cod or plaice lying on a kitchen counter.)

    God forbid one should have some skepticism about the appropriateness of melding Korean and Japanese cuisine. Even the name “Koreander” hints at a certain over-cutesiness. The fact remains that the Japanese occupation of Korea during WWII was of exceptional brutishness from a nation and a culture which in its administration of the “Greater Southeast Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere” accounted for many months towards the end of the war for the daily deaths of more than 100,000 of those “administered.” Many of those were,of course, Korean.

    That marketing people will push the uniting of Korean and Japanese food is not surprising. Yet Japan’s collective national reluctance, even among its academic historians, to date to acknowledge its horrible conduct during WWII shall probably always preclude my going to such a “fusion” restaurant.

    But then, I probably also wouldn’t have ever bought a snack at that lunchroom the Polish order of nuns who wished to build a convent at Auschwitz proposed to run there by way of self-sufficiency. Others posted above just seem to have shorter memories. I do wonder, however, how many Koreans of a certain age would find this matter of no real import. I’d certainly like to hear their take on things on this site.

  4. My God, cathar the things you complain about. In this case, as usual, I believe its to show off your knowledge of the Korean-Japanese relations (not that that topic is arcane) and not in service of any real curiosity. Why do you live in America? You know when you Catholics first got here, you weren’t welcome, right?

    And how do you know it’s “marketing people” pushing this menu? Maybe the owner is Korean, and wants to attract the largest clientele he can accomodate. Maybe he or she just likes sushi.

    Maybe you should just go ask.

  5. I see. And Korean food is not “cooked”. I wonder what it is that I’ve had all of those times in Fort Lee and Palisades Park?

    I can say that the Korean couple who run a laundry that I frequent cannot wait to try Koreander. And they eat twice a week at Japanese places as well.

    You see old bean, some people judge others, and food, and places etc. on their own merits, and they don’t grasp at any excuse to display some sort of pseudo-historical/literay onanism. Others, sadly, do.

    But I do agree that I’d rather hear “their” take, or really ANYONE’S take, rather than yours.

  6. Yummy!!! We are officially addicted. The food is beyond delicious and the service is excellent!
    We were not sure whether our children would find anything on the menu that they would eat. Picky, Picky. They did, and have asked when we can go back. Koreander you are now our new favorite, family restaurant. Thank you!

  7. It was packed as I walked past it around 7:45 tonight. I hope it does well. That corner needs it.

  8. I wish them well…can’t wait to try …The owner’s have been in montclair for years with one successful business already- It’s Joe & Jessica who own nails and body works on north Fullerton ave .

  9. Do they have Korean barbecue? I see a reference to a bulgogi taco, which is more Cal-Kor than Seoul food, but is that it? Anyone know if they have a website?

  10. Good point, cathar. From now on, no Korean food for the Quayle family !

    And since we Americans have also endured wars with the Japanese, the Germans, the Italians, the Spanish, the Vietnamese, and the British, ( did I leave anyone out?) no more going to their restaurants, either. Feh.

    But, in all fairness, since our war with the USSR was only a Cold War,
    I’ll refrain from eating Cold Russian food and restrict the Quayle family outings to Russian restaurants that only serve Hot Russian food.

    I’ll save you some cabbage soup, cathar, but make sure you heat it up before serving.

  11. I started to read the comments but the hot air of BS was too much to get past. I think I read something that suggested this place will be grumpy old man free however and that has me very excited to try it out. Nothing like holding a 60+ year grudge to show to how one can be remarkably out of touch and irrelevant.

  12. Had bulgogi and dumplings last night. Yum! service was slow but they were busy and brand new. Will be back very soon! By the way Sushi Koshi’s owner is Korean and he also has Bulgogi and a few other Korean dishes on his menu along with some very creative and tasty sushi. Great to have options within a short walk from home.

  13. I’ve eaten at Koreander twice already, and was delighted with the food, the atmosphere, and the fact that the waiters were very helpful and attentive, despite the fact that they were very busy. This will be a regular haunt for me.

  14. Cathar, you’ve got to be kidding. My Chinese father lived through WWII – his real estate “mogul” father sold his last house to buy a bag of rice for his family. And yet my father loved going to Chinese / Japanese buffets, and especially liked tempura. My English husband loves French food, and I have Jewish friends who love saurkraut. What the heck does a country’s long-ago (or even present day?!!!) politics have to do with their cuisine?!!

  15. Hey, this is a restaurant. Food, service, decor/atmosphere and value. That’s all. When you visit a doctor, do you ask him or her about their ancestors? Do you skip visiting Italy because of Mussolini? Have you returned the diamonds in your rings because of De Beers? Drivel is of no use to anyone. Real opinions about the restaurant are useful for potential diners. They also help the owner recalibrate to better accommodate their guests, and thus help ensure that the restaurants have a fighting chance. I cannot imagine that the owner would want to slog through this to find relevant comments.

  16. cathar – Open mouth and insert (geopolitical pig’s) foot. You should try it with kimchi. LOL!

  17. Ate there last night. They were absolutely packed, and definitely had some service issues to work out- but they’re new. Food was fantastic, and the staff was so nice- even when faced with rude customers loudly complaining about a few kinks in service. I will be back- and soon!

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