Mountain Cafe is a tiny hole in the wall spot that is known for their abalone porridge/juk/congee. If you've never been, it would benefit you to memorize the giant white character in the above picture. If you are driving by expecting to see a sign with the word "mountain" on it you will easily miss this place. The restaurant is open 24 hours and has very limited seating inside. It seemed like most people got their food to go, which is a smart idea if you live in the area. Although the place is known for abalone jook, I would say the ginseng chicken soup and the banchan were the standouts.
Their menu is on the wall and the English translation can be vague and confusing. This is when a Korean friend comes in handy. I'm going to guess that boiled ravioli is supposed to be mandu?
Spicy beef stew upclose
The spicy beef stew made the meal. These tender pieces of flavored beef with jalapenos were addicting and went really well with the abalone "chowder." Watch out, some jalapenos are really spicy.
Ginseng chicken soup
The ginseng chicken soup is actually a Cornish game hen stuffed with glutinous rice in a clear broth. There is no salt added to the soup, but it is served with a side of seasoned salt. I recommend tasting the broth before adding anything. The clean flavor of the chicken ginseng broth is totally worth it.
There were bits and pieces of abalone scattered throughout the "chowder" but the flavor was hardly detectable. The egg yolk added a nice richness to the dish once it was mixed in, but the "chowder" was quite ordinary on its own. Adding beef, kimchi, and radish to each spoonful, really brought the dish to life. The abalone "chowder" is really a vessel used to consume the tasty banchan. More beef and radish please!
3064 West 8th Street
Los Angeles, CA 90005