The intersection of 7th and Erie streets in Jersey City has the feel of a quiet, residential brownstone neighborhood. You’d be hard-pressed to imagine that the Newport Path Station is a short ten-minute walk away.
However, inside the brick and glass façade at 227 7th Street, Ahri’s Kitchen is serving up a selection of invigorating Korean dishes that make this address an idyllic stop for those in search of delectable Korean victuals in a crisp, casual environment. So that ten-minute stroll should become a five-minute hustle for those excited by the idea of a wildly delicious bibimbop.
Ahri’s opened here just over two years ago and has been dishing out dumplings, bibimbop, Korean BBQ, ramen, gimbop (handmade rice rolls) and more. On a quiet weekday afternoon, the lunch crowd was a mix of chatty two-toppers as well as local parents who brought their youngins along for a well-deserved meal. At night, the BYOB cafe fills to the brim with diners ready for Korean dishes prepared by this family-owned business.
The casual side of the experience begins with ordering your dishes up at the counter. We were greeted by a friendly, affable staff who were happy to help us out. And quite frankly, we wanted to try everything on the menu. Those who don’t consider themselves well-versed in Korean food should have no fear as it’s a welcoming environment for the newbies, too.
Once you grab your seat — and you should do it with verve on a busy night — the staff will bring your meal to the table.
The vegetable dumplings come with an array of dipping sauces, including soy and a generous side of kimchi. And if there’s any question of the kimchi’s freshness, a family member was doling it out right in front of our eyes. Don’t let the plastic containers deceive you – those little gems are full of the classic side dish packed with cabbage, Korean radishes, with a subtle accent on the chili powder and jeotgal.
The warm dumplings are pan-fried and stuffed with a mixture of spinach, tofu, vermicelli and other veggies. They’re gently browned and betray little trace of oil.
Be warned: should you put these out in the center of the table, beware of your friends or family members sneaking the last one before you do.
The spicy tuna rolls may also be pinched by your friends if you take too many sips of your piping hot corn silk tea. The rice rolls are large, with fresh spicy tuna (cooked) as well as seasoned cucumber, pickled radish, and just the right amount of sesame oil.
And we wouldn’t tell anyone if you decided to dip your rolls in their kimchi. We’d keep that between us. Not that we tried it that way. We wouldn’t do any such thing.
The bulgogi bibimbop contains a healthy portion of thinly sliced rib-eye steak surrounded by a collection of fresh veggies and a playful sunnyside egg to top it off. Diners have the option to select spicy pork or chicken instead.
Meat eaters and non-meaters will coexist with great harmony at Ahri’s, so it’s a spot that you’ll be able to go to with all your friends.
Ahri’s is simply a joy. Come here for the well-curated menu, the elegant manner in which their dishes are seasoned and a comfortable cafe atmosphere without the slightest hint of pretense. If you had the coolest grandma in the world who knew how to kill it with her Korean recipes, well, she’d be spending her time here in Jersey City.
Now it’s your turn.
Ahri’s Kitchen is located at 227 7th Street in Jersey City. Hours: Mondays, Wednesday and Thursdays from 11:30am-3pm & 5pm-9:30pm. Saturdays from 11am–10pm and Sundays from 11am-9:30pm. The restaurant is closed on Tuesdays. You can reach them at (201) 963-6056. Delivery is available.