I accompanied my Daughter, Bríd, to DooWee & Rice and she wrote this review.
DooWee & Rice on Broadway in Somerville is the fusion offering of first time restaurant owner, Chef Duy Tran. A Le Cordon Bleu graduate, he has a preference for fresh ingredients, but his feet are firmly planted in Vietnamese flavor. The result is a foodie-friendly fusion menu specializing in fluffy bao bao buns with a variety of flavorful fillings, crispy chicken hearts with 'Great White' sauce and fries, and a variety of rice dishes with tasty-sounding meat toppings.
For my first visit, on a Saturday at lunchtime, my father and I found ourselves awkwardly maneuvering through a tiny, packed, restaurant. The menu is written on a white board behind the counter, proudly displaying the unique consumables DooWee and Rice specialize in. Under this board is a pick up window, through which you can see the cooks doing their thing. I used this to observe that what I could view of the kitchen was both clean and organized.
The young man behind the counter, who was running food, taking orders, and bussing tables, took our order with a level of grace I found unimaginable with how hard he was working. Already impressed, we seated ourselves and awaited the meal. It came out quickly, considering the number of people who were ahead of us, and we were offered hot tea to accompany it.
We had ordered the Heart-y Fries, and the Lime-Habenero Chicken Bao Bao. Two items might not seem like a lot, especially split between two people, but the portions were generous.
The Heart-y Fries, $8, went like so; crispy chicken hearts over equally crispy french fries, topped with Great White sauce, Garlic Chili sauce, and sliced green onions. I understand that some people are opposed to the organ parts of even the most inoffensive of animals. Unfortunately, such characters are missing something truly special. The hearts were dark, meaty, crispy, and every moment that I realized that there were still some still left on my plate was a moment I will treasure. The french fries were less creative, but certainly not bad. Thinner cut, skinless, and fried crispy on the outside but soft on the inside. Both the hearts and fries were enhanced by the two sauces; a mayonnaise based, ultra-garlicky Great White sauce, and a less garlicky but nice and spicy Garlic Chili sauce. Altogether a dish that would have me dueling for last bite rights, had I been less fond of the person I was dining with.
The Lime-Habenero Bao Bao, $5, was an equally well-presented dish. Two big, fluffy steamed buns, each topped with a generous portion of the chicken filling and green onions. The chicken was dark, moist, and fully infused with both lime and hot habenero pepper flavor. For anyone who isn't familiar with habeneros, they make jalapeños taste like candy. Despite my tear filled eyes and running nose, I have no regrets. The chef knows what he is doing with his peppers.
I left DooWee & Rice both wowed and satisfied. What Chef Duy Tran does with food is definitely something to get excited about. For less than $14, you too can experience the variety of textures and flavors that the two dishes presented.
Check out their website here.