Young chef Duy Tran opened his first restaurant last month in the Somerville space that was once East Asia. (Its name is pronounced “Doo-Wee,” hence the restaurant’s nickname.) He has created a menu that emphasizes fresh ingredients and value, drawing inspiration from both his training at Cordon Bleu and the legacy of his family. His parents are Vietnamese; he was born in Hong Kong but has spent most of his life here.
DooWee & Rice is a cute, no-frills little space with red accents. The cornerstone of the menu is, of course, the rice dishes – chicken and rice, grilled steak with rice, braised pork with rice and chicken with Vietnamese chimichurri sauce and rice, all served with salad, pita and hot sauce, drizzled with white sauce, costing between $ 7 and $ 9. (All DooWee sauces are made from scratch.) There are snacks such as crispy chicken hearts with garlic and chili aioli, Vietnamese spring rolls, and wings in a variety of sauces. Chinese steamed buns come with toppings ranging from braised pork to apple ginger and chicken. Calamari salad, steak and fries, and beef rice noodles are among the other options.
The menu expands, with soup and more as the weather cools. Tran just wants to feed people, as a post on DooWee’s website clearly shows: “If you’re hungry and you don’t have enough money.” . . just enter! I can’t stand to see someone unlucky and hungry. I spent months volunteering in the kitchen at the Boston Rescue Mission and I will never forget what it means to help. “
DooWee & Rice serves its crispy hearts with soul.