Oh Nara Restaurant
Like so many restaurants in Koreatown , Oh Nara could be dismissed as just another random, yet bustling pork bone soup place. Photos of the food line its windows and two women work diligently in the back, cooking for all to see in the open kitchen.
Whenever I eat there I'm admittedly overwhelmed by the menu. It's as thick as a novel with at least five pages of items detailed in both Korean and English; plus a whack of photos showing what's what. You'd think it'd be helpful but more often than not it just leads to indecision. Should I go for the savory pancake? What about the bulgogi or shrimp fried rice?
Maybe it was the cold November weather but the fried egg on rice (Saeu Bokumbap $8.99) somehow managed to shine a bit brighter than the rest. Garnished with toasted sesame seeds, the egg was cooked to perfection and I let the yolky goodness spill onto the generous portion of rice below. But once the egg was done, so was my love affair with my meal as I had less enthusiasm for the veggies which consisted of sauteed onions, frozen peas and carrots. Sadly, the shrimp were not the great redeemer. While the kitchen didn't skimp on the portion size, I found them way too salty and somewhat overcooked.
Across the table, I tried my friend's spicy chicken soup (Dakkaejang $7.99) to see if she was having better luck. It had a strong aroma, and just like a good bowl of pho, it warmed my body to its core with one spoonful. This is what I call ordering remorse. The soup was clearly the better meal.
My vegetarian/vegan friend ordered his standard rice mixed with vegetables in a stone hot pot (Dolsot Bimbibap $8.99), which he pretty much orders whenever he goes out for Korean food. It's tough to mess up this Korean staple, although he tried his best as he was a bit too overzealous with the hot sauce.
But hot sauce or not, only two of us went home with happy stomachs. With a menu this big it's a bit disappointing to be the one who didn't get the order right. Next time I'll stick to food that comes served in a bowl.