This restaurant is in the heart of the Koreatown district of Los Angeles. It opened six years ago, and they have since opened two other branches, in San Gabriel and also in Rowland Heights. It is situated in a strip mall, next to another Korean restaurant, and opens 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Tables are small and tightly packed, at at popular times a long queue forms as people wait to sit down and eat.
The menu features noodles and assorted meat dishes, but no seafood or vegetarian dishes whatsoever. If you have a vegetarian in your party then the restaurant lets you pop next door to order a takeaway and then bring the food in. The signature dish is galbi jjim, a bubbling cauldron of beef short ribs with chilli peppers and a savoury sauce. At the start of the meal a series of pickles arrives, including some very good pickled daikon, as well as a green leaf pickle.
The galbi jjim is quite spectacular, arriving in a large cauldron, the ribs heaped on top of one another along with slices of assorted vegetables, including potatoes and carrots. This all rests in a dark, potent sauce involving soy, onions, garlic, sugar and chillies. You can optionally have cheese sprinkled on the top, which is cooked at the table by a waiter using a blowtorch. The meat was tender and I particularly liked the sauce, which was rich and dark and brooding, like a Hollywood matinee idol. The vegetables were nicely cooked too, and benefitted from the rich sauce (easily 14/20).
Service was brusque. The bill, with no alcohol to drink, came to just $79 for three, so £18 per person before tip. We did not have starters or dessert, and three of us were entirely unable to finish the vast galbi jjim. You could spend a little more than this but actually finishing the food would then be an even larger challenge. I enjoyed Sun Nong Dan, which produces some of the most enjoyable Korean food that I have eaten.