Hae Paul's is a new Korean restaurant Downtown. Operated by standout chef Paul Yow and his wife Hae Ran, Hae Paul's prepares classic Korean dishes as well as other dishes rooted in Korean tradition but fused with Mexican elements.
Service at Hae Paul's is quick, which bodes well for the Downtown lunch crowd. The server capably answered all questions about vegetarian dining concerns as well as those of the "what is that, exactly?" variety.
Interestingly, all of the items on the menu that don't list meat or fish as an ingredient are vegetarian, and most of the other items can be prepared for vegetarians. Prices are reasonable for the exceptional quality.
The mung bean cake is served on a bed of greens dressed with vinegar and sweet chili oil. The mung bean patties have a light texture with layers of earthy flavor.
The green pea dip with crispy pita tastes great, but its name does little to describe what comes on the plate. The peas were chickpeas, the green was an herbal dressing and the pita was toasted but hardly crispy. While the dish was successful, its description could use some fine tuning.
The jap chae are sweet potato noodles tossed with a rich soy sauce, carrots, green onions, green peppers, spinach and shiitake mushrooms. The noodles are a light vehicle that carries the flavor of the dish. The vegetables add a nice textural contrast.
The Korrito, a Korean burrito, is a star on the menu. When requested vegetarian, the grilled tortilla is stuffed with sticky barley rice, a spicy black soybean hummus, carrots, red onions and romaine lettuce. The Korrito is served with a deep soy marinade and a candied jalapeño sauce that is both sweet and smoky.
Orders are served with a variety of side dishes. The slaw had a light essence with a hint of smoke. The potato wedges were thinly sliced with a perfect crunch.
Dessert options seem to change regularly.
Hae Paul's should quickly establish itself as a go-to destination for lunch. With fresh, exotic flavors and fair prices, it should be on everybody's Downtown dining radar.