DooWee & Rice has had a weird, but beloved, existence: owner Duy Tran used to sell food out of his car in front of Wonder Bar in Allston, and then he opened his popular Somerville restaurant, which closed after barely more than a year, but there were plans for a new outpost at Wonder Bar — and London. Plus, some classic DooWee dishes stuck around at Teriyaki House, which took over the Somerville space.
Wonder Bar's DooWee & Rice construction was going on in early 2014, and for awhile, Tran popped up with some regularity at the bar, offering bao and other food, before beginning full operations — but those full operations haven't begun yet, and all has been quiet on the DooWee front for many months. Until last night.
Tran popped up in a few old Chowhound threads to share some updates.
On the abrupt closure of the Somerville location (and promising a Wonder Bar opening "very soon"):
"I did shutter my Somerville location rather abruptly and probably should have thought it over longer but I am happy to announce that I will be back very soon now that we have gotten over all of our delays at Wonder Bar. I've been traveling, eating, cooking, learning, and will be back with so much inspiration and drive I need people around me to calm me down. All good vibes though. I am 27 now, I opened DooWee and Rice at 23 clueless as to what it really took to run a restaurant..but now that I have full creative freedom at WonderBar without all the other responsibilities of running a full blown restaurant on my back I can do what I really wanted, put forth inspired dishes without over-complicating ingredients or techniques. Again, thank you for bearing with me through this delay and I look forward to getting back in the kitchen with more discipline, drive, and overall happiness."
"Somerville was an experiment that I absolutely needed to test myself," he notes on another thread. "I am ready to show what I can really do."
He also shares a long list of potential menu items and writes: "I know my dishes sound unusual, but I cannot apologize for them...I do my best to respect the ingredients and 'peacefully' blend flavors and techniques." Here are some highlights:
- "Many tapas-style dishes," from crispy Brussels with honey soy balsamic and spicy beansprouts to elote with confit crispy ginger.
- Frites, poutine, and heart-y fries, the latter of which is smothered in chicken hearts.
- A variety of meat and seafood dishes, including confit frog legs with a crispy garlic crust and sake fig emulsion; various ceviches; and "surf 'n' turf crostinis" in combinations like lobster and lamb or sweetbreads and spiced crab.
- Bar bites, like extra-crispy shrimp heads with garlic charred scallions and yuzu scotch bonnet dip; braised, char-grilled whole octopus; and "original dishes upon request."
- Bao baos, including foie, smelt, octopus, and more.
- "Much more along with old favorites."