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Two lunches in Koreatown

Cicely | Jan 6, 200608:36 PM

Following in the footsteps of others on this board, I headed to Olympic Noodles for lunch yesterday. I got a big bowl of chicken noodle soup (first menu item) - I thought I was hungry, but that bowl conquered me. Hand-cut noodles with good chew, and tasty broth (I preferred to Ma Dang Gook Soo). Speaking of broth, I thought the tiny white bits floating in it were dough scraps, but they might have been garlic - afterward I could sense the odor emanating from all my pores.

And it wasn't from the kimchi, either. I have to agree with the poster who pointed out their kimchi isn't fermented enough. Or at all. In fact, I wasn't really sure what they had done to it... it was limp as if it had been salted, but not actually salty. Still, as it was almost the only vegetable available (also discs of pickled daikon), I scarfed it down. I like new kimchi, but this was definitely short on flavor.

Today I met a friend for lunch at Sa Rit Gol. She'd been wanting to have dol sot bi bim bap (rice dish served in hot stone bowl), and I thought I had heard it was good there.

Well... it was good, but not all that. It was pretty mushroom-heavy... and the mushrooms weren't even well sliced, so you'd end up with a rubbery mouthful of fungus. And the greens were depressingly overcooked... the whole dish looked pretty drab. This sounds kind of horrible, but it wasn't BAD, just very ordinary. Actually, I did appreciate that when we asked for egg to put on top, we got softly fried eggs sprinkled with black sesame seeds. I actually would've preferred the raw egg, but it was a nice touch.

And the panchan (side dishes) were quite good... it's been a while since I've eaten in a real Korean restaurant (as opposed to luncheonette) and they had a nice spread at Sa Rit Gol. I particularly liked the fish cakes with slices of jalopeno peppers in a sweet sauce. The jalopenos were cooked, almost candied, in the sauce, and the fish cakes don't actually taste of fish, they just pleasantly absorb more sauce.

And the kimchi here was a fine contrast with the other - it had the fizziness of proper fermentation. It still wasn't the best, but more orthodox.

Olympic Noodle
4008 W Olympic Blvd
Los Angeles CA

Sa Rit Gol
3189 W Olympic Blvd
Los Angeles CA

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