2022 Tastemakers: Raymond Kim of Koso Hae
Located in the new East Market, Koso Hae is a mashup of trendsetting LA taste and the more traditional flavors of a mom-and-pop Korean restaurant.
Before moving to Columbus, Raymond Kim called Los Angeles home. As the son of eventual Columbus restaurateurs—Kim’s parents own Diaspora, the Campus-area Korean eatery where Kim did “everything from cooking to serving” during his high school days—the 28-year-old also grew up in a family restaurant business.
This background has influenced the aesthetic of Koso Hae, Kim’s stylish new Korean food stall and specialty shop. Rather fittingly located in the vintage-yet-fashionable East Market, an 1880s-era building impressively renovated into a food hall and public market, Koso Hae is a mashup of trendsetting LA taste and the more traditional flavors of a mom-and-pop restaurant.
A Cutlet Above
At Koso Hae, Kim—citing the inspiration of iconoclastic Korean-American chef Roy Choi—has showcased short rib and pork belly taco specials with envelope-pushing garnishes like shiso salsa verde, miso huitlacoche and kimchi romesco.
Classics like beef bulgogi and spicy pork bulgogi are expertly executed, too, and can arrive in a bento-esque dosirak (“lunchbox”) meal partnered with terrific house kimchi, other housemade banchan and rice.
But the current star of Koso’s show is the katsu sando, a decked-out pork cutlet (katsu) sandwich (sando) between slices of fluffy, toasted Japanese milk bread. “I put in the most love prepping and cooking it,” Kim says about this comforting yet dynamic signature sandwich.
To Market, To Market
In addition to delicious restaurant dishes, Kim offers inexpensive, destination-worthy, bodega-style groceries. These include Korean ice pops, “Flamin’ Hot” chips, refreshing and Chrissy Teigen-approved Sanzo sodas (in flavors like yuzu), premade sushi that’s supermarket-priced but of much better quality, plus jars of bold, housemade kimchi.
In a Pickle
As a new business owner, Kim muses, “Anything that can go wrong will,” but “stress will cultivate mechanisms for problem-solving and growth.” Equipped with that philosophy and local support—including his grandmothers in Columbus, who ignited his love of food, as well as the movers and shakers from Preston’s: A Burger Joint, Ajumama, Cleaver and Comune, whom he credits as mentors—he’s eager to delve deeper into pickling and fermentation. Expect more banchan and “experimental” specials, like koji-butter wings enhanced by yuzu kosho (a citrusy chile paste) to boost his already compelling food stall.
212 Kelton Ave. (inside East Market), Franklin Park
About Raymond Kim
Hometown: Los Angeles
Go-to bars: “Law Bird for cocktails and St. James Tavern for something divey”
Local food he craves: “I will crawl through burning coal for the biko from Three Bites Bakery—a sweet and chewy rice cake with coconut topped by nuts and shaved coconut.”
Always in his fridge: “Louisiana Hot Sauce and, for the darkest moments when I need a treat, Camembert”
Raymond Kim is one of nine “Tastemakers” profiles in the August 2022 issue of Columbus Monthly.