I went to Hae Woon Dae at 76th and Broadway for lunch again. It was fantastic! We ordered dishes a la carte, but before they came we got served an elaborate nine-dish banchan (appetizers or side dishes), which included an entire mackerel, crab claws in chili sauce, and a whole chunk of tofu. And to add to that, we were also given steamed egg in claypot (like chawanmushi) and a really rich tofu/beef soup, and a salad with a great wasabi-like dressing.
All for free!
This has gotta be one of the greatest culinary bargains in NYC. I 've been to 8-9 course tasting meals and the portions weren't much bigger than the plates of banchan - and they sure weren't free!
I eat here all the time, for just that reason, and always love that the dishes were free. (Except the white saucy thing I don't touch). But I logged on today to post about this place in a different light, as I just today had a bad experience there (and I usually never
have restaurant complaints.) ...
I got there and it was empty (odd I thought, considering how packed it is for the lunch special ... I ate there two weeks ago Wednesday and it was packed!). I sat down, as usual they bring the menu that I never need to see, and water, and then come back to take my order. (I'm in no rush, Lucas was enjoying lunch at Grandma's after a playdate with a friend). But when I ordered my usual Shrimp Teriaki Lunch Box, the waitress says it's only "Monday to Friday."
Last time I checked it was Monday.
In any case, what it eventually came down to was the manager Brenden came over to explain my confusion and said that the line of Korean on the menu says "except holidays." Now I'm not a language or food snob at all, but that tidbit would have been helpful up front, or in the translated part of the menu that says Mon to Fri and the times. I mean I do understand the logic as I think about it in hindisght and they are quite generous.
Nevertheless, I figured it must be a new policy, as I ate here just two weeks ago on a holiday (the only time I'm in the 'hood to eat here for the special is school breaks and holidays). So, while I was about to order something similar from another portion of the menu, I asked the manager if it was new, as I ate here last on Rosh Shannah. His reply was "Real holidays, not your Jewish holidays," and that's when I got turned off. I thanked him for the water, but decided at that point, my business was better off at Delhi Palace.
Now, that's the dilema I was logging on to post about ... I must admit I'm hesitant to go back, and I used to spend a least a third of my weekdays off lunches there (oince a week in summer and winter breaks). It's bad enough that the restriction (which I still think is new, as I've been there a few holidays, but they might have been "lesser" like Brooklyn Queens Day to be fair) wasn't clear, but the comment was a little too off putting. Again, ironically, a simple line in the menu would have avoided me even knowing the manger's belief of which holidays are real.
Incidentally, not that it matters at all, I'm Catholic, so I doubt their "(my) holidays" anyway ... and I am part Italian, but honestly I think Columbus Day is nowhere as "real" as Yom Kippur. (Plus now I'm curious if they serve specials on Halloween, Chinese New Year, or St. Patrick's Day, when even schools are open, but like Columbus there are parades, etc..)
That all said, I really like the restaurant, just having a dilemna about if I should go back or not. As my neighbor's bumper sticker says "What would Scooby do?"
What would you do?