THE MAIN COURSE
By Mitch Davis
50 W. Third Ave.,
Collegeville Station, Collegeville
Japanese, including sushi, nabe, hibachi, teriyaki, etc.; with a
Bi Bim Bap and Bul Go Gi.
11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
Mon - Sat;
Dinner, Mon ?Thu
4:30 to 10:30
3:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Entr? Prices: Lunch,
$6 to $15.50, Bento boxes $8.
Dinner, $9.50 to $35, avg. $15.
Spacious, but not cavernous, the high ceilings lowered with
drapery. Beautiful ingenious lighting everywhere. Tranquil, low
noise level. Tastefully decorated.
Credit Cards: All major
$25 to $29. Kids 밄ento"
If this column had a headline it would be:
upscale Asian cuisine finally comes to Collegeville."
It has been long overdue in this
area. The opening of the magnificent Bonjung (which means
뱋riginal and true, love and heart")
in the refurbished
Collegeville Station building, may have made the long wait
entirely worthwhile. This very attractively designed and
furnished Japanese & Korean restaurant, which just opened last
month, has the makings of becoming a shining light on the area뭩
somewhat moribund restaurant scene. (Happily, I think this is
starting to change).
a first time restaurant owner, Gregory Shin (born in Korea), a
successful computer engineer, has made a surprising number of
very smart moves, and had a measure good luck in launching
Bonjung, satisfying a longtime dream. He leased a great space
to house the restaurant, in a convenient location with ample
parking, and luckily married a woman, Christine, with excellent
interior design and decorating talent, who made the inside
rather beautiful and comfortable. He is also lucky enough to
have an older brother, Leo, an experienced chef, who manages
the kitchen; and a sister, Nani, who does TV marketing for A &
E, who is handling publicity for the restaurant. Bonjung has
already gotten good publicity and good reviews here in The Trend
and in other local papers, and also in The Inquirer. Most
important of all, Shin had the good sense to hire two skilled
sushi chefs, the experienced master Yonemoto, better known as
simply Yone-san (Zen, Genji), and the up-and-coming Fukuzaki (Genji),
who were both ?to Shin뭩 good fortune ?available.
our arrival 6:30 on a Friday night, only a few tables and seats
at the sushi bar were filled. By 7:30, it was 90% filled, and
yet the noise level was unusually low, perhaps the benefit of
the attractive drapery-lowered ceiling. Other eye-pleasers are
a backlit wall of bamboo and a stunning, surprisingly large
scarlet kimono commanding the back wall.
of the usual preliminaries of a Japanese dinner were
outstanding: wonderfully light ebi shumai (shrimp dumplings,
$5.50), miso soup, salad w/ ginger dressing, a very fine, large
portion of seaweed salad ($4), and excellent hot green tea. The
first three are the starting dishes of the five-course 밪pecial
(each enough for two), which I highly recommend.
There are three to chose from ranging from $25 to $29. The
밅hiku" combination dinner which we chose featured a sushi
main course of six pieces of velvety tuna, yellowtail, and
salmon sashimi, and a quality California maki roll; and a second
flaky fresh salmon teriyaki and beef negimaki
(marinated sliced steak wrapped around scallion), served with
boiled rice. And still to come was a very pleasant dessert of
mochi ice cream, a ball of rich ice cream wrapped in sweet rice
had wanted to try an Udon (hot pot) dish, so I also
ordered the Tempura Udon ($10.50). It was a huge bowl of thick
soba noodles in clear broth perfect for a cold night,
with jumbo shrimp & vegetable tempura (batter-fried) on the
side. The udon dishes make for a complete lunch in themselves,
and at lunchtime are only $7 or $8.
attentive young Japanese server, Raina, could not do enough to
please us, and intelligently brought out each of the many
courses in exactly the proper (and our preferred) order without
We were nearly
finished when our friends, Joe & Diane, who are veteran sushi
aficionados, arrived and ordered some of Yone-san뭩 specials,
moving to the 10-seat sushi bar. They loved his ceviche,
a mixture of marinated fresh fish in a tomato sauce with
cilantro and the heat of some red pepper a unique dish for a
Japanese restaurant. Their Spanish mackerel was served lightly
seared, the medium toro (belly tuna), a richer version
than the regular tuna, was melt-in-the mouth wonderful we had
some too, and the abalone, another rare offering, had a pleasant
to it, like good abalone should.
(out of 5 m뭩) Excellent (밪uburashi
To contact Mitch
Davis, you can e-mail him at: MdavisMainCourse@aol.com