Inside Hae Woon Dae, there are perhaps 20 years of Atlanta “best of” awards all set out on rich wooden walls, thickly paneled. It doesn’t take long to gain the impression that they’re all earned. Just watch the staff. Watch how they talk to tables. Look at the size and thickness of the meat servings. Look at the “charcoal guy”, coming out to top off those folks cooking food at their tables. Yes, they charcoal broil meats here. There isn’t any of that portable butane torch gear being used here.
I’ve been in the past, long before I was a food blogger and recalled I liked it. I went back on a day I couldn’t think of a better Korean place close to work. The corner of Buford that Hae Woon Dae is on is not my favorite, especially at night, so I went at lunchtime. It was a pretty late lunch and still there were people peppering the eatery.
The LA galbi I had was as thick as my thumb, unusual in this city where 5 millimeter thick meat is more the norm. Thinner meat cooks faster, you see. But sometimes, to develop flavor can take longer. What I had at my table was worth the wait and the couple extra bucks. There was some chew in the meat, but I’ve not ever found galbi with the consistency of pot roast.
Whatever I might say further about this restaurant would hardly change its decades old reputation. Just count me among the many food fans who raise two thumbs up to this venerable Atlanta institution.
Hae Woon Dae
5805 Buford Highway
Doraville, GA 30340