Just getting back from a fantastic dinner at a brand new Mongolian restaurant.
First things first, we aren't talking about a hotpot or bar-b-que joint. This is, if I understand correctly, real Mongolian food like dumplings, noodles, salads, fried rices, that milk tea etc. If I had to compare it to something, I'd say there are elements of middle eastern flavors, elements of Tibetan and elements of Chinese. Eatting style seems to be communal with the solid dishes [small plates are given out]. Soups seem to be served as a full meal in addition to being shared.
We went as a party of 6 including the two pups. This allowed us to try all the main dishes [none of which names I wrote down], plus one soup and two salads.
For main dishes, we had fried dumplings with meat, boiled dumplings, something translated as "well cooked beef," meat fried with rice and meat fried with noodles. The fried dumplings came first--they were deep fried, filled with meat, flat like a pita, sort of football shaped and had a salad of thinly sliced red cabbage. Next came the "well cooked beef" which was a tremedously tasty beef stew served with a scoop of potato salad, a scoop of shreded carrot salad and two scoops of white rice [interestingly enough, in Mongolia they seem to like the short grain rice]. Very delicious. The rice and noodle dishes with meat were similiar except one was rice and one was noodles. They both contained onion and lots of carrot. The noodles were a bit unusual--if you just looked at them you might have thought you were eatting shredded potatoe but it was a noodle---perhaps shaved like some of the ones in parts of China?
We had two salads out of about 6--a shredded carrot one with mayo and a potatoe salad. The carrots were very finely shredded. The potato salad was sort of mixed veg with potatoe and a creamy sauce.
Originally the soup was for one of the pups but by the time it arrived she had stuffed herself on the rice and meat so she constented to sharing. It was a tasty broth, with lots of veggies and interestingly enough, potatoes that seem to have been fried until brown [added lots of depth]. In addition to meat and veg, the soup had about 11-12 wonderful meat filled dumplings. I think thats the reason the soup took longer to arrive---someone back in the kitchen was making the dumplings. I can definitely see this as something to send the hubby out for the next time I'm stuck in bed with the flu which should make him happy since my other fav sick soup involves a trip to Mandarin deli in Chinatown.
At the end of everything came a plate of steamed or boiled dumplings filled with meat and served with a salad of carrot and red cabbage. The order had at least 10 dumplings in it.
We washed everything down with mugs of Mongolian milk tea---the kind with salt--which as one of the party noted really really worked well with the food.
Each dish was as tasty as its predecessor and at the end of the meal, no one could decide on a favorite. This is a bit sad because there were about 6 or 7 soups on the list and we only were able to try 1--with nothing dropping off the "must order" list we shall be hard pressed to try everything.
Mongolica is brand new. They are open tuesday thorugh Sunday from noon until 2 am. It appears that the kitchen is open the entire time. They do have a limited liquer license--beer, wine, shoju. They also have karaoke in [hold on to your hats]: Mongolian, Russian, Korean, Chinese and English for $20 per hour.
As best we could tell, the owners are the only ones working there. It seemed to be a young couple and very nice.
Mongolica is located in Koreatown [center of the food universe, dontcha know?] at 3954 West Beverly Blvd, near the Beverly-Vermont Red Line metro, between Berendo and Catalina. They are in the little shopping mall on the south side of the street. Ample parking.
One caution: this is not a very big place. There are about five 4-top tables [but you can squish up on the comfy bench with pillows] plus the bar. And there appears to be only one person in the back cooking so if you are ordering a zillion things like we did, it will probably take a while for all your stuff to come out.
But its worth it!