| DATE NIGHT | Jersey City's Ahri's Kitchen

The DATE NIGHT series on BURBS + a BBQ spotlights local restaurants and adult playtime activities for those fleeting but important couples-only nights. Next up in the series is Ahri's Kitchen on Erie Street in downtown Jersey City. Please forgive the iPhone-quality photos that capture this experience.

It's dinner time. You're starting to panic about what to do. You didn't prepare anything and you don't feel like cooking because it's a beautiful night. So, here's what I recommend doing: Date Night at Ahri's Kitchen.

Now, your Date Night style is up to you. We made our Ahri's experience a homestyle Date Night with takeout on our back deck, because we're so damn excited to be able to sit and eat on our outside space again. We even let the World's Cutest Human crash our date. But Ahri's restaurant is cozy and adorable inside, making for a great casual on-site date option. Really, they're well set up for either, plus they offer delivery through Fastboy, a local Jersey City service.

For us, the best part about Ahri's is that it's across the street from our house. Erie Street has blown up in the past year, evident by the amount our landlord raised our rent after only one year in the 'hood. Very Clothes and Goods, Carrino Provisions and TaldeJC moved in, Smith & Chang re-upped its ante, followed by Prato Tuscany Bakery and now, Ahri's Kitchen.

Yet, even better than the convenience of the restaurant being across the street is the food itself. They deliver 100% on a promise of fresh, healthy, simple food. Everything on the menu sounds so tasty, and I had a little case of the "want to try it all's" when I ordered and because it's so affordable, I nearly did just that.

We started with the Kimchi Fritter (ingredients apparent) and the Seafood Fritter, which has calamari, mussels, carrots and scallions. Both appetizers are fried in a light flour batter, served in "pizza triangles" (as far as the World's Cutest Human's universe is concerned). She gobbled them up.

For entrees, we went big with three orders, first sampling the Tofu Bibim Rice served with firm tofu, carrots, cucumber, mushroom, zucchini, spinach, bean sprout and an egg sunnyside up, all drizzled with sesame oil. It was fresh and delicious.

In addition to the rice, we shared the Korean Ramen (I'm on a ramen kick that I can't kick) and the Spicy Pork Shoulder Korean BBQ.

The Korean BBQ, made with thinly sliced pork shoulder, stir-fried with red chili peppers and vegetables over sticky rice was a perfect spiciness, and the meat was cooked well.

The ramen, a simple blend of ramen noodles with fresh vegetables and a cracked egg was also completely delicious. All dishes come with a side of kimchi. Mmmmmmm.

The meal made for a perfect date on a night just like tonight, where you want to enjoy well-made, delicious, healthy, fresh food from a local, family-owned restaurant on a lovely evening. Ahri's is your place. After all, they founded the restaurant to fill a need. As fellow transplants, they found a lack of good, authentic Korean food in Jersey City.

"As Koreans, food is essential to our culture. We decided to open Ahri's Kitchen as a way to share both Korean food and culture with Jersey City and with Ahri, our daughter," says the introductory note on their website from Ahri, Aena, and Andrew.

I hope to have a seat emblazoned with my name on the back from such regular visits in no time. Give me the summer.

If you want to drool all over your screen before you give Ahri's a try, follow them and check out their menu on the interwebs: