Home-cooked East Asian fusion with soul
When I finally strolled into DooWee & Rice, a new East Asian eatery in Powder House Square, close to closing time after a weirdly long drive from Central, I had beef and noodles on the brain. The unassuming hole-in-the-wall — a tiny, brightly lit space with a handful of red booths for sit-down dining — has been open for just under two months, but chef-owner Duy Tran's signature Vietnamese marinated beef noodles in his special sweet-and-spicy fish sauce have already earned street cred from diners in the know.
Not the most discerning of foodies myself (full disclosure: I've been known to microwave an egg or two in my day), I was excited to taste what all the fuss was about. But it was not to be. The girl behind the counter sadly told me they'd sold out during the dinner rush, but recommended the chimichurri chicken and rice, a hearty portion of tender, mostly dark-meat chicken (not overly greasy or grisly like much of the Asian takeout I tend to mainline as a late-night tequila chaser), drizzled with Tran's homemade sauce atop a bed of well-seasoned, almost Latin-tasting yellow rice.
At a very reasonable $7.50, a serving of this — or any of DooWee's other rice or noodle dishes — is more than enough for a nice meal. But fuck it: I was the only one in the restaurant, so there was nobody to portion-shame me.
I added two Vietnamese egg rolls — flaky rolls filled with generous portions of shrimp, pork, jicama, and vermicelli and served with a fantastic, spicy chili dipping sauce (and only a buck each!) — and braised-pork bao baos ($5 for a pair). Let's talk bao baos. I brought one home to share with my roommate, who reverently described the white Chinese fluffy buns as "heavenly pillows." I frankly found her descriptor a little creepy — Carrie and her "dirty pillows" spring to mind — but I had to agree they were almost impossibly soft, providing a tasty cushion to envelope all that savory, succulent pork. Semi-pro tip: when you go to DooWee, get the pork bao baos. And the beef noodles . . . or so I've heard.
EAT UP 868 Broadway, Somerville :: Mon–Thurs, noon to 9 pm; Fri, noon to midnight; Sat, noon to 9 pm :: 617.764.1906 or dooweeandrice.com
: On The Cheap
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