Kid Hit Menu Items: Chicken noodle soup; cold buckwheat noodles; dumplings. The menu also includes California rolls, but I mention this only tentatively because a) hey, they’re California rolls, and b) this Olympic Noodle is not a sushi joint.
Adult Perks: A long list of house-made Korean soup and hand cut noodles. Choose from chicken, anchovy, beef, kimchi, or seafood broths ($7.29-$8.25), as well as su jai bi soup dumplings. Other options include the house sliced noodle or acorn noodles in spicy or mild sauce, and dolsot/stone pot rice.
Pros: Olympic Noodle’s portions are huge. The tables are spaced fairly far apart so it’s a comfortable room for families and to maneuver strollers. Most of the dishware is plastic, too. I saw many families with kids on a Saturday afternoon.
And hey, mammas, refuel after a grueling — but relaxing! — session at the Olympic Spa across the street.
Cons: Hot soup. Not much of an attractive streetscape that’s basically barren of shade trees, should you need to take a walk around the block and burn off some excess energy.
Other Tidbits: Olympic Noodle is so close to where I grew up; in fact, it’s opposite the Japanese restaurant with the good jukebox where we went a lot in the late 70s and early 80s. Yet Olympic Noodle reminds me how much eating promise Olympic Blvd. holds. It’s a straight-up, efficient noodle joint, with an eclectic assortment of art, some bamboo wall treatments, and plenty of artificial plants, including an entire wall that covers the blocked-off windows of half the storefront (no Wooly Pockets here). I had a huge bowl of steaming soup, mild soft kimchi sprinkled with a generous topping of sesame seeds, and radish for panchan — not a huge variety, at least not served to me. But I could barely finish my serving of chicken soup filled with chunks of juicy chicken, zucchini slices, and green onion, plus silky round “won tons” (that’s specifically what they’re called on the menu). The soup is cloudy and on the under-salted side — definitely not made in the root veggie and sodium-injection style of my people, which is why I recommend ordering it with dumplings for some garlicky flavor. Cold buckwheat noodles ($8.25) taste commercial and mechanical compared to the thick handcut signature product, but a couple orders I brought back to the family homestead fed a bunch of kids and a few adults, too. I’ll have to return to try the noodle in cold bean soup to find out if that dish will supplant my craving for Ma Dang Gook Soo’s soy milk noodles on hot days. And we need to taste more dumplings (either steamed, boiled, or pan fried, $6.40) to see how they compare to All Family Restaurant, which is our usual go-to source when we’re in my old stomping grounds.
4008 W. Olympic Blvd. (at Norton), Koreatown
Cuisine: Korean (specifically noodles)
Hours: Monday – Sunday, 11 a.m. – 8:30 p.m.