Monday, February 25, 2013

The Leptologists Eat at Hae-Paul's

Paul: Do you know what cuisine we've never done before?
Candice: Scottish!
Paul: No! Well, true, but what I was thinking of was Korean.
Candice: Too bad. I would have enjoyed some haggis.
Paul: You're joking, aren't you?
Candice: Maybe. So Korean?
Paul: Hae-Paul's is a new Korean restaurant located in downtown Columbus.
Candice: Oh, right. It's getting some good buzz. Didn't they recently change their name?
Paul: Yes, it used to be called Natalie's. The owners/chefs are Hae Ran and Paul Yow. It's located a block or two south east of the Ohio Statehouse.
Candice: We're not walking, are we? Did you see the ice out there?
Paul: No, I'm bringing the car around.
Candice: I like the look of this place. The decor is simple and elegantly kitschy. It's clean and open.
Paul: It smells wonderful as we enter.
Candice: Debra the waitress asks us to seat ourselves and I pick the long blue table by the window.
Paul: You seem distant today.
Candice: Ha ha.
Paul: Debra is soon over to get our drinks and tell us the specials. Her infectious giddiness makes this lunch seem special already.
Candice: The soup of the day is a Chicken Bulgogi Soup and the special of the day is an Egg Cake with Avocado Cream Filling.
Paul: Those both sound good.
Candice: Yep. I order the Egg Cake, Calamari, and the Pulled Pork.
Paul: I order the Chicken Bulgogi Soup, the Mung Bean Cakes, and the Beef Bulgogi.
Candice: Debra is more than happy to bring two spoons and two plates for sharing.
Paul: The Calamari arrives first.

Friend Calamari
Candice: It comes with a lovely kimchee tartar sauce, which is spicy but not too hot.
Paul: This is very good calamari. Not chewy fish-flavored bubblegum that is sometimes served at restaurants.
Candice: It's lightly coated and not greasy. The light breading means I can taste the calamari. Yes.
Paul: There's ample amount here, but it came out on such a big plate that the portion looks meager.
Candice: Yep.

Chicken Vegetable Soup
Paul: Here's the soup.
Candice: It's a basic vegetable and chicken soup.
Paul: Carrots, turnips, onions, and bulgogi chicken. It's spicy, hot, and good. I like the rice in here a lot. But you're right - a basic soup.
Candice: The chicken is fresh.
Paul: The next appetizer arrives, the Bean Mung Cakes.

Mung Cake
Candice: Ah, now this is what I think of when I think Korean food. Lovely, nummy flavor.
Paul: This is good. I see a variety of vegetables in the cake, and a leafy lettuce of some sort underneath.
Candice: It's spicy with a contrasting sweet sauce atop it. A very good combination of flavors.
Paul: Agreed. Very, very good appetizer.
Candice: Paul Yow visits us at our table. He says we eat food like he does, a wide range of flavors in the appetizers and entrees.
Paul: He mentions that the process of making Mung Cakes requires no leavening and that they are a prime example of Korean street food.
Candice: He also mentions that the restaurant has been open since November 7th as Debra did earlier.  Good to see them doing so well.  The place is packing in now...
Paul: That was nice of him to stop by and you're right, a decent crowd. Here's our last appetizer, the special of the day, the Egg Cake.

Egg Cake
Candice: It looks and tastes like a crustless quiche, Debra said, and I agree.
Paul: This has got a smooth, gentle flavor. The egg holds all these subtle ingredients (zucchini, avocado, and green pea dip) together.
Candice: The Egg Cake is definitely more your thing than mine.
Paul: I like this a lot, more as I eat more of it. It's a well-crafted dish. Ah, here's the entrees and extra plates.

Beef Bulgogi
Candice: The Beef Bulgogi is savory and there's a variety of vegetables to complement the taste.
Paul: Yes, the beef is well done and it has a strong flavor. It's an excellent dish.
Candice: The soba noodles served cold with the pulled pork are delicious.
Paul: Yes, this is the flavoring I think of when I think of Korean food. The noodles are awesome.

Pulled Pork
Paul: Well, overall what did you think?
Candice: The food all around was excellent especially the Bean Mung Cakes and the Soba Noodles.
Paul: Yes, I liked the Calamari and the Egg Cake. The combination of flavors in the entrees were also very good.
Candice: Agreed. And the price was $42 for all this food. That's three appetizers, one soup, and two entrees for those keeping score at home. Very much worth the price.
Paul: Certainly worth the wait. Debra took good care of us.
Candice: I'm for sure coming back. Our only critique would be the plating.  It left some of the dishes looking sparse. Use small plates and pile those delicious calamari on!
Paul: Here! Here! I'd come back too. I want to try the sesame beef burrito.
Candice: That does sound good. Thanks for the great suggestion, Paul.

Candice   Paul   

Worth the Price?
Worth the Wait?
Worth Coming Back?

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