Ahri’s Kitchen: A Family-Owned Korean Restaurant in Jersey City

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For those not well-versed in Korean food, ordering at a Korean restaurant can sometimes be intimidating. Large menus, unfamiliar dish names, all the stress of overordering. This is not the case at Ahri’s Kitchen, a family-owned restaurant near Downtown Jersey City. Read on to learn about the Jersey City gem and what to expect on the menu.

Since it opened about six years ago, the small restaurant served authentic Korean home cooking in a familiar context. The cozy decor and small menu make it more like a cafe than a canteen-style dining hall in K-town, but the food is equally hands down solid. 

ahris kitchen jersey city

The Food + Experience

ahris kitchen

{Photo credit: @ahriskitchen}

The small interior, which doesn’t look like that of a third-wave coffee shop, can be loosely described as  “AirSpace” but more intimate, with chic french windows, warm-toned wooden furniture, and a cheerful menu on blackboards. The menu is designed in a way that both lone eaters and groups can easily find what they want, be it a quick bite, a healthy lunch, or a formal-ish dinner. 

Read More: A Look Inside Jersey City’s Cafe Pilipino

ahris kitchen

{Photo credit: @ahriskitchen}

A group of two can easily have a full meal by sharing a few appetizers. For a non-filling starter, try the kimchi fritter, housemade kimchi lightly floured and fried. The texture is lighter than a regular fritter, more like tempura, still retaining the crunchiness of the kimchi.

ahris kitchen

{Photo credit: @ahriskitchen}

For more substantial appetizers, get Korean fried wings. The skin, coated in a heady garlicky sauce, is crispy and crunchy. The meat inside is tender, flavorful, and not overly oily. Meat or vegetable dumplings, lightly seared, are delicious as well.

ahris kitchen

{Photo credit: @ahriskitchen}

The main dishes appeal to both gourmands and dieters. The restaurant makes excellent kimchi fried rice, an often-underappreciated dish in Korean restaurants. The perfectly cooked rice is soft with a subtle chew, evenly coated in beef fat and savory gochujang sauce. The beef, a good amount of it, is kept very moist inside the rice {choices of chicken, pork, and vegetables also available}.

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For something meatier, the dupbop — marinated beef rib stir-fried in a potent soy-garlic sauce — is a lot of fun to eat. It takes some work to gnaw the meat off the bone, but the effort is well worth it. The collagen-laced meat is tender, supple, and full of flavors. 

ahris kitchen

On the lighter side, Hoboken Girl’s favorites include a kimchi tofu stew, a potent soup loaded with silky tofu and thick-cut beef, served piping hot. {Seafood tofu soup is also on the menu}. The tofu has the texture of custard, and the beef is lean but tender. Gochujang and kimchi jazz up the flavor, and give the eater a nice but not painful buzz on the lips.

ahris kitchen

{Photo credit: @ahriskitchen}

For an even healthier option, there’s always bibimbap, which doesn’t look unlike a lunch bowl from Sweetgreen. It is topped with no fewer than half a dozen different crunchy vegetables, served with warm, glutinous rice. Protein toppings include firm tofu and bulgogi {marinated beef}.

Ahri’s Kitchen has maintained a low-key social media presence. Marketing is mostly via word of mouth. In fact, Hoboken Girl first learned of the restaurant through local East Asian ex-pats who gave rave reviews. Fans don’t usually point to a “killer dish”, but generally speak of the “solid food” in general, ascribing it to “the people knowing what they are doing”. After having tried it, Hoboken Girl agrees as well.

The overall experience was easy-going but one could notice the attention to details in the cooking — the well-rounded seasoning, the well-portioned ingredients, and the small side of delicious homemade kimchi that accompanies each dish. The small restaurant is simply a delight. 

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Yiwei was born and raised in China. She has lived extensively in Beijing and Hong Kong, before finally settling down in New York. She moved to Hoboken after a few years in Westchester and immediately felt at home here. Two years ago, she left her job at an investment bank to travel the world and explore her interests, and has since then taken on a few freelancing gigs in career coaching, college admission consulting, and writing. When she is not wandering wildly in the streets of Europe, Asia, or Latin America, she can be found sipping an espresso in one of Hoboken's coffee shops or trying out restaurants in Hoboken and Jersey City area.