Fire up the grill
Ong Ga Nae Korean Barbeque, located in West Covina, provides a convenient and exceptional dining experience with its genuine Korean food and decor.
The muted brown and beige walls complement the old-fashioned Korea theme. Framed Korean writing and drawings decorate the walls, and there is a wooden bench that contributes to the vintage aesthetic. Smoky aromas and sizzling from the grills fill up the restaurant, radiating comfort and toasty warmth. The traditional setting reflects the truly authentic Korean barbecue experience.
The wait for a table for two was forty minutes on a Sunday night, but that was understandable considering it was a packed house. The server was efficient in accurately and quickly getting the orders and would occasionally come by to see if there was anything else she could help with. She switched the grilling lids often without being asked, which was extremely helpful in preventing any of the meat from burning.
The restaurant provides side dishes such as rice paper wraps that are adequate in taste and do not distract from the main course — the meat. The galbi, which is a marinated boneless short rib, is mouth-watering and juicy, and the lingering richness of the sweet dipping sauce further enhances the flavor.
The presentation of the kimchi chigae, a spicy cabbage stew with pork and vegetables, is extremely pleasing to the eye and displays boiling, aromatic stew topped with chopped green onions. Hot spice from the cabbage balances out with the pork and tofu in the soup, leaving only a hint of spiciness. The ingredients complement each other flavorfully, and the spices added work well for this dish.
The samgeupsal, which is grilled slices of bacon, is delicious and juicy, but the only problem is that there are small bits of fat embedded into the slices, making the samgeupsal hard to chew. However, the sauce accompanying the meat makes it tastier and adds a salty and savory flavor.
The check comes with a complimentary cinnamon spice Korean drink, which is a sweet and refreshing way to end the meal after all of the grease from the meat. With fast and friendly service and a variety of warm and fulfilling dishes, Ong Ga Nae Korean Barbeque is a restaurant I would highly recommend for a warm, fulfilling escape from the cold winter weather this holiday season.
By Melissa Kim, Staff writer