Koreatown continues to reveal additional culinary facets like some kind of Russian nesting doll. Chef Jason Ha has actually been cooking in the neighborhood for years, but is only now grabbing the spotlight. He moved with his family from Seoul at age 13. Ha helped his parents cater starting in 1995 and worked at their Japanese restaurant inside the Radisson (now the LINE Hotel). For the past seven years, he prepared Korean soups for his church, helping to fuel Master Ha (aka HaSuSaeng), a strip mall restaurant with flat screen TVs that explain the cuisine’s health benefits, all set to K-Pop.
Ha has earned the “master” designation by creating destination sul lung tang, a painstaking beef bone soup preparation that requires many steps. Dig deeper to discover their amazing marinated crab combo. Master Ha’s Marinated Crab Head Combo ($44.99) was on the opening menu, and should still be available if you ask. This combo makes an impressive progression. Two swimmer crabs from Korea are marinated with boiled onions and scallions and soy sauce. Steamed white rice, cracked quail eggs, nori, furikake, and microgreens join remaining crab in their shells. Ha then marinates two shrimp (normally $9.99) bathed in the crab marinade and crab juices to mask raw shrimp’s “fishy” flavor. You’ll also receive crunchy sliced abalone (normally $6.99), which rise above the crab shells like monuments. The main event is a bowl of marinated crab meat and funky, flavorful innards served over rice with more furikake, another cracked quail egg, and microgreens. Each combo comes with a small bowl of milky beef broth, punchy pickled vegetables, pungent kimchi, and fermented, chile-slathered daikon slabs. This combo could easily warrant “master” status on its own merits.