REVIEW w/pics: Ondal 2 (Korean Soups)
My name is Abby and I'm an Ondal 2 Spicy Crab Soup Addict. Don't laugh. I'm serious. Generally, when I re-visit a restaurant, I never order the same thing twice because I like exploring the menu. During my second visit to Ondal 2, I didn't even look at the menu. #2 has been embedded in my brain since my first visit, so #2 for the Spicy Crab Soup was coming my way and not soon enough.
So why so much love? Well, even before the soup arrives, our meal starts off first with a salad and then a tasty onslaught of about 9 different panchan dishes, which were all delicious and flavorful. Than out comes out the raw chili crab, the grilled pike fish and thinly-crisp Korean pancake with leeks and carrots. The nice family that runs Ondal 2 definitely did not want their customers to leave hungry.
While we savoring our way through the dishes above, out comes a pot with beautifully red crabs, greens, bamboo shoots and oyster mushrooms in a spicy broth. It cooks for awhile on our tableside burner and the aroma is quite enticing. Soon after, the waiter arrives to break down the crab and not only pour its insides inside the pot, but also cracks the claws for easier eating.
With a flourish, he spoons rice, soup and bamboo shoots into the empty crab shells, which serves as our actual bowls and also makes for a lovely food presentation. The soup itself is richly satisfying and also has a kick because of the owner's secret chili powder recipe. What's great about this soup is that while it definitely can pack heat, that heat compliments the crabby flavor and doesn't overwhelm it.
Now if you still have room, this soup can be served a total of three different ways. First, just by itself. Second, for an additional $1 per person, you can request that "dough paste" as it's referred to in the menu be added. The "dough paste" is basically a type of noodle that is quickly hand-twisted into the soup by one of the waitstaff. So now you have a Spicy Crab Noodle Soup.
The third way to enjoy this soup is the fried rice way. Again, it's a $1 extra per person, but more than worth it. First, the pot is emptied and than rice, oil, along with other ingredients, as well as some of the broth left over from the soup is added and made into fried rice. Since the soup has been cooking down all this time, the rice that's thrown into the pot definitely absorbs all that crabby-crustacean goodness of that broth it is mixed with.
After feasting on a variety of flavorful dishes, my palate was jumping up and down. So to end the meal, we had a delicious, cooling bowl of Sikhye, which is a sweet rice beverage. It was the perfect end to a wonderful meal.
Throughout both my visits, the service was always friendly, especially during my second visit there where I brought a large group of 18 with me. Even with that large party, everything ran smoothly from beginning to end. I am a true fan of Ondal 2 and maybe, for my third visit, I'll finally try something other than that Spicy Crab Soup, but then, maybe not. :)
To see pics, go to:
4566 W Washington Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90016
We couldn't even get to the pasta, and shot straight to the fried rice. Sooooo good. Exceptional service, really tasty (the #2 done "mild" was still wicked hot), iconoclastic panchan (esp. the sweet seaweed), and totally apropos as the weather is getting cooler now. The three of us had a ton of leftovers considering our server suggested get this big ass beauty of a seafood pancake to go with. Will be returning, with more chums for sure...