Golden Camel Mongolian BBQ

Golden Camel Mongolian Bar-B-Q
21006 Hawthorne Blvd, Torrance, CA, USA

Driving down Hawthorne Boulevard nowadays is nothing like how I imagine it was when the Beach Boys did it … polishin' up their Woodys, cruisin' up and down the same ol' strip, skeevin' on all them California girls, poppin' mouthfuls of lithium carbonate courtesy a young Dr. Eugene Landy, drownin' in Marina Del Rey … fun fun fun!

That is how it was back then, right? Classic!

Maybe I'm just cruisin' the wrong strip, because this part of Torrance is a relentlessly beige swath of blah from the 405 to Pacific Coast Highway. Yet some of these chintzy little strip malls offer certain pearls if you're willing to look past the slightly grimy facades. One such diamond in the rough (hm, apparently not keeping my jewelry metaphors straight at the moment) is Golden Camel.

Golden Camel Mongolian BBQ

It looks like it's been here for at least 30 years without changing a thing (certainly not the carpet). Sometimes this aspect can be super charming (a la The Apple Pan), other times it's just old (a la The San Franciscan). Golden Camel falls somewhere in the middle. The hilarious and awesomely shouty owner pushes it a little toward the gem side.

golden camel mongolian bbq

Lunch special, about $10 with tip. Basically, load up your bowl with noodles, meats, and veg from the buffet, take it over to the guy working that crazy old grill, and he'll sizzle it up just right. Be sure to season your bowl wisely, as the food is kinda bland without throwing in several sauces, the hotter the better.

Golden Camel Mongolian BBQ

Only downside is your clothes smelling like Golden Camel Mongolian Bar-B-Q for the rest of the day. Perfect for client meetings … because nothing says "synergistic strategic partnership" like showing up infused with the essence of an Ulaanbaatar marketplace and a Torrance strip mall.

Review by Jennis Zouther, January 2011