Columbus Monthly’s Best New Restaurants 2023: Koso Hae
The Korean stall Koso Hae is a standout at East Market in Franklin Park.
Market spaces tend to be competitive, especially in a newly established venture like the East Market. But the Korean stall Koso Hae has stood out, even among Columbus mainstays like Yellow Brick Pizza and Winston’s Coffee & Waffles.
Owner Raymond Kim, a Columbus Monthly Tastemaker in 2022, has given a contemporary interpretation to the traditional Korean market stall. Kim’s parents own Diaspora, a longtime Campus spot often favored as some of the city’s best Korean. Combine his experience in the family biz with a California upbringing, and you get the trendy-in-a-good-way Koso Hae.
Kim focuses his menu around small plates, noodles, bap rice bowls, maki rolls and banchan. Market guests would be well-advised to start with the delightfully crispy Korean chicken wings or the mandu, pan-fried dumplings filled with ground chicken and chives. You also can’t go wrong with any of the rice bowls, from the classic bibimbap to tender bulgogi to the quintessential Spam and kimchi.
In less than a year, Kim has established himself as a capable restaurateur in his own right, building on his family’s traditions with a modern eatery that should anchor the East Market as it grows.
212 Kelton Ave. (inside East Market), Franklin Park, kosohae.com
Pojangmacha: Koso Hae’s origins lie in Korean pojangmacha, small tented or wheeled stalls popular in streets and markets. Meaning “covered wagon” in Korean, pojangmacha were originally rustic spots for late-night eats or grabbing quick drinks while standing. More modern versions have upped the comfort level and diversified their menus.
Serious Sando: One of the standouts on Kim’s menu is his adaptation of the Japanese katsu sandwich. Koso Hae’s version layers a hefty pork cutlet with shaved cabbage, mayonnaise and a tangy house sauce on Japanese milk bread. It’s the perfect marriage of modern international fare that’s true to its market stall roots.
Mini H Mart: Speaking of being true to your roots, Kim also operates Koso Hae as a mini grocery. The shelves are stocked with chips, interesting sodas, canned nitro coffee, bottled lattes and milk teas, house-made sushi and sweets. Koso also packages its many side dishes to-go, like its kimchi or its obokchae spicy relish.
Bincho Boys: One of Raymond Kim’s side projects is this pop-up with collaborators Matthew Heaggans (Preston’s: A Burger Joint) and Jay Kleven (Speck). The concept is strikingly simple: the trio cook yakitori on Japanese-style grills using binchotan coals—thus the name Bincho Boys—until they sell out. Past pop-ups have taken place at the Oracle in Olde Towne East and Antiques on High in the Brewery District.
This story is from the 2023 Best New Restaurants package in the March 2023 issue of Columbus Monthly.