I don’t go to Ohn Korean Eatery nearly as often as I should. The cool Korean joint opened by chef and restauranteur Mike Tran (who also owns Aka Sushi House, Tiger Den, Mein Chinese Restaurant, Night Market Thai, and Laki Fish) earlier this year, I think of it as more of a go-with-friends for drinks and socializing kind of place than a place to go by myself when I want a hearty meal.
But on a recent Tuesday evening, I was craving a hot bowl of soup and found myself driving to the strip mall that houses Mein Chinese, one of Tran’s other concepts, for a bowl of wonton noodle soup. When I arrived at the restaurant, I saw the Ohn Korean sign next door and remembered that someone had told me about their short rib soup. Minutes later, I walked through Ohn’s heavy wooden doors.
It was around 6 p.m. when I arrived and because it was weeknight, there was no wait. I was promptly seated at my own booth. I had come specifically for the kalbi tang short rib soup, but after browsing the menu, I added an order of Korean chicken wings because I was really hungry.
Three Korean banchan side dishes — kim chi, oi muchim (pickled spicy cucumber), and some chives with spicy sauce — arrived first. Then came the soy garlic chicken wings, double fried and crispy and pretty comparable to Korean fried chicken places like Bonchon and Dak and Bop in terms of flavor.
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The short rib soup, when it came, however, was clearly the pièce de résistance. Served in a hot Korean stone bowl, a large short rib slab (which looked to be about 2 pounds in size) was protruding from the bowl of bubbling hot soup. Fishing the slab out of the bowl, I draped the bones over the side of the bowl to take a picture. Picture taken, a server was on hand with a pair of scissors to cut up the short rib into bite sized pieces.
Excited to try the soup, I actually burned my tongue on the scalding hot broth, but it didn’t dampen my enjoyment of the dish at all. The broth itself, a rich, hearty bone broth that is simmered for 12 hours, had this naturally sweet beef broth flavor. Clear, chewy sweet potato noodles—the same noodles used to make the Korean stir fry noodle known as jap chae — were floating in the soup. Copious amount of freshly chopped green onions garnished the dish. A sweet and salty cola-flavored sauce was provided for dipping the chunks of short rib.
It was magnificent. Even so, because I’d ordered the chicken wings, I couldn’t finish the bowl. That ended up working to my advantage, however, as I was left with a small but well-portioned serving that was enough for lunch the next day.