The LES restaurant scene is very diverse, kind of like the Mean Girls lunchroom. You have your classics (Katz’s, Russ & Daughters and Meatball Shop), pretentious (but delicious) spots (Beauty & Essex, Dirty French and Stanton Social), casual, but “always a wait to get in” spots (Sweet Chick, Clinton Street Baking Co. and Ivan Ramen), club restaurants (Hotel Chantelle, Los Feliz and The DL) and then random hole in the wall restaurants, located in between quiet streets, that are actually pretty decent. New to the neighborhood, Doka Square, a cozy seventeen-table restaurant featuring new modern Asian cuisine doesn’t really fit into any of these categories because it is situated on Delancey and Eldridge, a pretty high traffic area, but it’s not really known to the public yet.
All reviews that I had read about Doka Square prior to my visit were very positive, so I was a bit confused as to why the small space was empty at 7:30pm on a Tuesday, but then again, I am never opposed to private dining!
The Happy Hour menu was amazing and it lasted until 8pm. Wine was $7 a glass and there was a nice Happy Hour menu for food (dumplings, wings, fries and calamari were under $7). Then, it was also ladies night, so after “Happy Hour” ended, all drinks were half off. Wait… it gets even better. When you check in on Facebook, YELP or post on any social channel, you get two free Fried Garlic Chicken Wings. I really contemplated on posting on multiple outlets, so I can get more wings, but instead I decided to pace myself for the rest of the meal.
Here’s what we got (everything was delicious unless noted otherwise):
CHICKEN WINGS: Seasoned with black pepper, minced garlic and marinated honey
GYOZA: Pan fried beef/pork dumplings with cabbage, shiitake mushrooms, scallion and bamboo
CHILI SALT CALAMARI: Onion, green + red pepper with spices
*The breading was not crisp enough – I love calamari at Asian restaurants, but this just didn’t do it for me
ROCK SHRIMP: Served with fresh green spicy mayo
*Rock Shrimp is usually my favorite thing on any menu and this was pretty average. The spicy mayo was delicious, but the breading overtook the shrimp and like the calamari, the dish needed to be much crispier.
DOKA FRIES: Paprika seasoning
SATAY CHICKEN: Served with cucumber, onion and peanut sauce
PORK BUNS: Steamed buns with braised pork belly, topped with pickled daikon + carrot, cucumber and cilantro
STIR FRIED MIXED VEGGIES: Asparagus, sweet pea, zucchini, mushroom with brown sauce
CHICKEN PAD THAI: Pan-fried rice noodle served with bean sprout, egg & preserved bean curd and pad Thai sauce
Doka Square is definitely a great date spot or (group spot on a Tuesday night). It is super-affordable and you shouldn’t have any problem making a reservation. Overall, I have to give my experience a 7/10. Many things were yummy, but I just wouldn’t get the Rock Shrimp or Calamari.