I don’t think a lot of non-Koreans know about Ondal 2, which is one of my favorite restaurants in LA. Dining there is a very special and unique experience involving incredibly delicious food. There are many things on the menu, but let’s not waste our time here. When you go to Ondal 2, you have to order the Spicy Crab Soup plus optional “Korean Pasta” course and optional rice course. I would recommend ordering the soup medium spicy (or even medium/mild) unless you have a super high tolerance for spicy food.
After you order, put on your apron (yes, that’s right — apron!) and let the fun begin. Since this is a Korean restaurant, the first thing they bring you is Banchan (small plates of assorted appetizers), which are excellent here and much more unusual than the typical appetizers you get in most Korean restaurants in LA. These appetizers include scallion pancake, spicy chili-coated raw crab legs, whole grilled mackerel pike, sugared seaweed, egg custard and, of course, kimchee. Soon after you’ve gotten started with the Banchan, they bring over a large pot of the Spicy Crab Soup, which will continue cooking on the burner in the middle of your table. This soup is incredibly flavorful and the yummy crab broth is chock full of crab pieces (in the shell), vegetables and exotic sea squirts. During this part of the meal, in addition to the soup, the waiter will serve you crab shells stuffed with crab meat and rice, which he prepares tableside for each person in your party.
After you’ve eaten your full of crab soup, a woman will come over to your table to begin the “Korean Pasta” portion of your meal. She adds some water to the remaining soup and then hand rips pieces of dough and tosses them into the soup to cook. After the pieces of dough have firmed up and soaked up the delicious crab soup, you pull them out with a ladle or chopsticks and enjoy a truly excellent dish of “Korean Pasta.” For the next course, they empty out all of the remaining soup and cook a really tasty fried rice dish in the pot with a special sauce, kimchee, onions and other vegetables. Make sure to keep the rice in the pot long enough to form a crispy bottom, which is my favorite part. In addition to preparing the rice, they bring you a small bowl of cold “pickle juice” and the idea is to alternate every spoon of the hot rice dish with a spoon of cold pickle juice. The flavors and temperatures complement each other beautifully; it is genius! For the finale, they bring everyone at the table an icy bowl of sweet rice water, a light and traditional Korean dessert. When the meal is over, you will be very full, but I bet you will be back because this is a truly awesome place!
Ondal 2 is located at 4566 W Washington Blvd in Los Angeles.
Assorted Korean appetizers
Making pasta, Korean-style
Korean Pasta cooked in the Spicy Crab Soup
Yummy hot rice dish served with cold "pickle juice"