Hand Made Noodle House, better known in Korean as 손 칼국수 (Son Kalguksu), recently expanded from a tiny five table joint to a full-blown restaurant with enough room to host your extended family back in Korea. Hand Made Noodle is currently my family’s go-to kalguksu (Korean knife-cut noodle soup) spot. While not my mom’s or my favorite, my brother’s family — who are recent pescatarians — like it because they have noodles with anchovy broth on the menu (most restaurants in the neighborhood are beef broth-only), and my dad used to like it because it was always cheaper and the portions humongous. I say “used to” because since the expansion, the prices have gone up a dollar or two for each dish. After this happened, my dad made a big to-do about it as if the restaurant had personally betrayed him and vowed never to go back, but since then, he’s been back a few times so I assume he’s made peace with the restaurant in his heart or at least his wallet.
What I like best at the restaurant, pre and post expansion, are the steamed Homemade Dumplings ($8.99; pictured at top). Most Korean dumplings are made of a mix of beef and pork, but the dumplings at Hand Made Noodle are all beef. This you may think is a bad thing, as pork adds more flavor, but these delicately wrapped dumplings, are flavorful without being too heavy.
Noodles are also good, and since they expanded, there’s more variety on the menu. Supposedly the older clientele like the Wild Sesame Kalguksu (들깨 칼국수; $12.99) — knife-cut noodles in a thick wild sesame soup — for health reasons, and while initially beguiling, it’s so creamy and strongly-flavored, after a few bites it becomes overwhelming. I prefer the more classic Chicken Kalguksu (닭 칼국수; $9.99), knife-cut noodle soup with chicken, or if I want to mix it up, I’ll order Chicken Kaljeabi (닭 칼제비; $10.99; pictured above), knife-cut noodle and hand-torn pasta soup with chicken, or even Chicken Suejeabi (닭 수제비; $10.99), hand-torn pasta soup with chicken. It’s all tasty; served hot in a lightly seasoned chicken broth, and contrary to what my father says, the portions are still huge.
손 칼국수 / Hand Made Noodle House
337 Broad Ave (b/n W Palisades Blvd & W Central Blvd; map)
Palisades Park, NJ 07650