Saturday Dinner and Movie Date Night: July 9, 2011 @ 6PM
A "Play-It-By-Ear" Saturday lead us to Doobu in Japantown. Still slightly jetlagged from my trip from Manila a week ago (yes, it took me that long to recover!)--Enrique and I did not plan anything for this Saturday except dinner.
Movie at the Sundance Kabuki is always our favorite way to spend a lazy Saturday evening after dinner. And this time, no restaurants in mind, no Yelping, no Opentable. Just anything goes.
We took a stroll at J-Town and after a quick browse at the Aloha Warehouse for cute Hawaiian merchandise, I spotted Doobu right next to it. I found out that Doobu is a Korean restaurant. Perfect! I was not in the mood for Japanese food.
Doobu is tiny but the decor is surprisingly hip. It is a mixture of traditional and contemporary. The "sushi" bar was at one side of the restaurant. The rest was mostly comfortable booths for seatings. The place was almost empty when we first sat down before 6pm. Minutes later, people stated coming in. And I was glad to see that many Koreans patronize this restaurant. A good sign!
As soon as I saw Bibimbap on the menu, my heart (tummy) was set on this dish. Enrique went for his usual Kalbi.
We were given a whole fried fish as a complimentary appetizer. The fish was battered and crispy. I loved it but Enrique did not like the bones so I ended up eating his and really enjoyed this nice treat.
5 ban chan were also provided to us: a kimchi, seaweed, chewy fish cake strips, pickled sprouts and daikon. The kimchi was on the bland side and lacking in heat and spices. My favorite was the marinated seaweed but the rest of the ban chan was actually pretty good!
Enrique did not have much to say about his Kalbi except "it was good." He commented, though, that it had a lot of fat.
I was disappointed with my Bibimbap as soon as the pot was placed in front of me. The very hot stone pot and a raw egg on top held the promise of a great bibimbap. It was also tasty with the right spices. A jar of red hot pepper sauce arrived with my dish. However, instead of bulgogi (thinly-sliced beef), my dish came with ground beef. Eating ground beef with my bibimbap just felt strange to me texture-wise. I prefer the more traditional bibimbap.
Doobu is a good option if you are craving Korean food in Japantown where you will most likely end up dining on sushi and bento boxes. Service was friendly but not very efficient given there were only two servers who functioned as hosts, food preparers and servers at the same time. It is also more expensive than the Korean restaurants we frequent both in the City and the East Bay.
Doobu might not have made it to my fave Korean list but I will have no qualms returning if I were craving Korean food in J-Town. I will just skip the Bibimbap and try a different hot stone pot next time.
Tab: $60 including a Diet Coke, tax and 18 tip.
Foodie Girl's Rating: 3 Stars
0 Star: Never again!!! These people should not be in business.
1 Star: Chalk it to bad experience. Live and learn.
2 Stars: Some are good. Some are okay. Some are bad.
3 Stars: Like! I will return!
4 Stars: Love! I will be dreaming of you at night!
5 Stars: Perfection (or close to!)