For at least a decade, there has been a very small Mongolian population in Koreatown, but this is the first time I can recall a Mongolian restaurant opening. (Note that this is not the once ubiquitous Mongolian BBQ style; this is an actual Mongolian restaurant).
Located at the intersection of Wilshire and Virgil, Golden Mongolian Restaurant opened a few weeks ago and also has a sushi menu, though they weren't serving the sushi the day I visited. The Mongolian dishes are listed as "traditional" on the menu. Mongolian is not a cuisine with which I am readily familiar, so I was excited to give it a try.
We started with a salty milk tea ($1.50); the salty element, which you might think would detract, actually worked very well in the tea. I'm not much of a tea drinker, but I couldn't stop taking sips, loving the combination of tea spice, milk and salt.
The steamed lamb soup ($9.50) was one of the best lamb soups I've had. It featured a deeply intense lamb broth with thinly sliced lamb. Some of the lamb pieces were chewy with connective tissue, but the broth was amazingly rich. It was served with a fried pancake, like a Chinese scallion pancake without the scallions, that was crisp on the outside and tender within - perfect for sopping up soup.
Tsotsgiitei Bansh ($6.25 for 10 pieces) are steamed beef dumplings served with thick sour cream. The dumplings were filled with a nicely spiced beef meatball and went very well with the sour cream. Like many of the dishes, this one felt like a melding of Russian and Northern Chinese cuisine which obviously makes sense geographically.
Huushuur ($5.95 for 3 pieces) are described on the menu as flat, fried beef dumplings (or something like that). They are large flat dumplings fried in a flour-based dough. They had nice flavor and were served with a pickled cabbage slaw.
Lastly, Tsuivan ($8.95) is a fried noodle dish featuring home made noodles, beef, peppers and carrots. The noodles were delightfully chewy and the slivers of beef were very tasty, but the use of red bell pepper was a bit heavy handed and dominated the flavor. I would have liked just the noodles and beef. Still, I might order it again just to get those noodles.
All in all, this was a lot of fun and the prices were extremely reasonable. The lamb soup was probably the stand out dish, but everything was enjoyable.
Golden Mongolian Restaurant
3012 Wilshire Blvd.,
Los Angeles, CA 90010