Saturday, October 15, 2016

Ong Ga Nae (Los Angeles, CA)

OngGaNae Korean BBQ Restaurant
936 S Vermont Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90006
Sat 10/15/2016, 07:35p-09:40p

Ong Ga Nae Exterior

One of the latest entrants in Koreatown's perpetually-crowded KBBQ game is Ong Ga Nae. The restaurant opened at the start of June, and is the second outpost of the longstanding original down in Rowland Heights.

Ong Ga Nae Interior
Ong Ga Nae takes over the address that formerly held noted AYCE KBBQ eatery Moo Dae Po (along with Vermont Garden and Haewoondae before that), and the new ownership hasn't really changed things up too much.

Ong Ga Nae Menu: Special Combo Ong Ga Nae Menu: Lunch Special Ong Ga Nae Menu: Authentic Korean B.B.Q Ong Ga Nae Menu: OngGaNae Special Ong Ga Nae Menu: Main Dishes Ong Ga Nae Menu: Signature Dish & Liquor/Beverage
Menu-wise, Ong Ga Nae offers up a pretty prototypical array of meats for grilling, along with a selection of other Korean dishes including their signature saeng bulgogi. Typical beverages are available, while corkage is advertised at $15 (though we didn't end up getting charged, likely due to confusion on our servers' part). Click for larger versions.

2014 Le Vigne di Alice Prosecco di Valdobbiadene Doro
First to imbibe was some bubbly, the 2014 Le Vigne di Alice Prosecco di Valdobbiadene Doro. This was an easy-drinking Prosecco, smelling of floral apple, with a refreshing, straightforward palate that displayed bright citrus and a touch of minerality.

Combo B
Combo B [$99.99] | Prime rib eye + Prime beef brisket + Boneless beef meat + Non marinated beef rib + Pork belly
We ended up going with Ong Ga Nae's larger combo and supplementing with a couple other dishes, which was more than enough for our party of six.

Cheong-Gyeongchae Geotjeori
In lieu of the typical baechu kimchi, Ong Ga Nae instead had a wonderfully crunchy 'n' bitter bok choy geotjeori.

Prime beef brisket
Prime beef brisket (Cooking)
The traditional starting meat of chadol begi (brisket) was on point, cooking up earthy and unquestionably beefy.

2016 Beachwood Blendery Careful with That Passion Fruit, Eugene
With the sparkling wine done with, we moved on to a beer, the 2016 Beachwood Blendery Careful with That Passion Fruit, Eugene, a lambic-inspired sour created from a blend of 9-14 month-old oak aged ales, fermented with passion fruit for a month, then bottle conditioned another three months with wine yeast. Nose was delightfully tart with passion fruit throughout. On the palate, I found the beer funky and acidic, with more of those soft, sweet, fruity notes coming in toward the finish.

Ssam Mu
Ssam mu pickled radish, for wrap purposes.

Nakji Bokkeum
Nakji Bokkeum [$19.99] | Stir-fried octopus with spicy seasoning
A classic preparation with a balanced spiciness and contrast from the veggies. The actual octo was generally well-textured, though some pieces did veer a touch chewy.

Kongnamul Muchim
Kongnamul muchim was spot on in terms of crunch and spicing.

Prime rib eye
Prime rib eye (Cooking)
Next up was the deungsim, or beef sirloin, a tender, juicy cut that eventually developed a nice sear.

2016 Cycle 3rd Anniversary BA Indonesia Sumatra
Here was a bourbon barrel-aged imperial stout with Mostra coffee, the 2016 Cycle 3rd Anniversary BA Indonesia Sumatra. Bittersweet bouquet filled with roasty coffee. Taste was chocolate and rich malt, along with a strong, sweet dark fruit component (one of my dining companions identified overripe plum).

Rice Paper
Rice paper, also for wrap purposes.

Doenjang Jjigae
A delightfully spicy, funky doenjang jjigae was included in our combo.

Korean parsley (minari) made for a bitter banchan with a lovely sesame element to it.

2016 Funky Buddha Sticky Treats
Inspired by Rice Krispies Treats, the 2016 Funky Buddha Sticky Treats was a blonde ale with rice and vanilla added. Smelled of rice-y vanilla, while the taste brought more sweet, almost meringue-like flavors. A decent interpretation of the classic childhood treat.

Boneless beef meat
Boneless beef meat (Cooking)
Next up was the jumulleok, or marinated boneless beef short rib. These were tender little morsels, beefy sure, but also with delectable flavors of sesame oil.

Potato Salad
The potato salad was a tad sweeter than I would've liked.

Haemul Pajeon
Haemul Pajeon [$16.99] | Korean style pancake made with squid, shrimp, and green onion
Haemul pajeon is one of my standbys. Ong Ga Nae's had a nice batter and green onion component, though I wanted more of the actual seafood.

2013 Stolpman Angeli
We moved back to wine with the 2013 Stolpman Angeli, a Syrah from California's Central Coast. Highly aromatic nose loaded with rich berries and flowers. Palate brought more of that dark fruit, along with pepper and a subtle herbal tinge.

Gamjajeon was almost gelatinous, with some nice browning going on.

Non marinated beef rib
Non marinated beef rib (Cooking)
The saeng galbi was properly tender, though I found it on the sweet side for non-marinated beef short ribs. Still tasty though.

Jelly-like nokdumuk (made from mung bean) was dressed with a spicy chili oil condiment.

Gyeran Jjim
The gyeran jjim was a prime example: fluffy and light, but with a deep savoriness.

2016 Modern Times Shadow Mountain
My favorite beer of the night was the 2016 Modern Times Shadow Mountain, a red wine barrel-aged saison with boysenberries. The nose was super aromatic, brimming with fruit, while the palate went uber floral, but with countering notes of tartness and yeast to round things out.

Gosari Namul
Gosari namul (bracken fern) was mild, vegetal, with a slight crunch to it.

Pork belly
Pork belly (Cooking)
No complaints about the samgyeopsal (pork belly), a crispy, unabashedly porky presentation with a good balance of fat and lean.

A type of jangajji pickle had a superb crunch to it, along with just a smidge of sweetness.

2016 Modern Times Monsters' Park Aged in Nicaraguan Rum Barrels - Mexican Hot Chocolate Edition
Our final bottle was the 2016 Modern Times Monsters' Park Aged in Nicaraguan Rum Barrels - Mexican Hot Chocolate Edition, an imperial stout with cinnamon, cocoa, chili, and vanilla. Not surprisingly, this one smelled of warm, aromatic spice. The taste showcased more of the beer's malt character, along with dark fruit and more of that sweet spice toward the rear.

The requisite salad to go with your gogi gui.

Seng Bulgogi
Seng Bulgogi (Piling On)
Seng Bulgogi (Pouring Broth)
Seng Bulgogi (Simmering)
Seng Bulgogi [$28.99 x 2] | Grilled thin slices of tender beef with mushroom and vegetable
We felt compelled to end with Ong Ga Nae's signature saeng bulgogi, an unmarinated preparation served with veggies and mushrooms and cooked in a sweet broth. I'd never had bulgogi done this way before, but thoroughly enjoyed it. The meat itself I found tender, robust, rich, well-contrasted by the bitterness of the greens while the broth imparted your classic sweet-savory flavors.

Ong Ga Nae made for yet another successful K-town KBBQ outing. The restaurant's main selection of meats certainly delivered, though I'd say that you should come here more for that saeng bulgogi, which really is something you don't see often at all.

Following dinner, we stopped by B.S. Taqueria for dessert and ee-cha before heading out to Seven Grand across the street.

Tres Leches Cake
Tres Leches Cake [$8.00] | Brown Sugar Meringue, Macadamia Nut

Broken Burro De Effe
Broken Burro [$12.00] | Mezcal, Guava, Cucumber, Ginger
De Effe [$13.00] | Mezcal, Carpano Antica, Ancho Reyes, Cafe Lolita, Habanero Bitters


Blogger daniel s. kim said...

love their bulgogi! went to the vermont outpost recently and glad to see OGN doing well (been going to both their RH locations for years)

Tuesday, November 01, 2016 3:09:00 PM  
Blogger kevinEats said...

"both their RH locations" <-- They have two locations in Rowland? I thought it was just the one on Colima. Where's the other?

Saturday, November 05, 2016 1:12:00 AM  

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