55 Carmine Street, New York, NY 10014 • (212) 414-1224 • http://www.dohwanyc.com
We Ordered :
- Mul Mandu – kimchi and beef dumpling
- Kimchee Pajun – crispy fried kimchee pancakes
- Salmon Sashimi Salad salad with avocado mixed greens, ginger dressing
- Mul Neng Myun – buckwheat noodles in chilled beef and daikon broth, Asian pear, boiled egg
- Bibimgooksu – buckwheat (soba) noodles, spicy kimchi with beef
- Seywoo Bokum – spicy shrimp sauté, asparagus and cilantro
- Seng Kalbi – boneless beef short ribs, no marinade
- Deji Bulgogi – thinly sliced marinated pork
I have always felt welcome at Dō Hwa it has a warm feeling inside and soft dim lighting. I have also watched Dō Hwa grow and get more popular literally all my life. The first time i went there my grandma invited us there and Me and my family did not believe we could get authentic Korean food outside of Korea town. We were blown away by how was nice and warm the atmosphere is and how the food is the very best of its kind. Ever since then me and my family have been eating there regularly. If it’s dinner night for my family there’s a good chance we’ll be at Dō Hwa.
The thing i normally do at any Korean restaurant is get a lot of appetizers. At Dō Hwa more than half of the listed items that i got are appetizers. The reason for this being is… THE APITIZERS ARE AMAZING. My favorite appetizer is what they call “Kimchee Pajun” – I’ve heard other names. People may think that since it has the word kimchee in the name it will be too smelly or too spicy, but that is not true at all. Pajun here is crisp and hot on the outside, just the right level of gooey on the inside. For me, this is my favorite part of the meal.
The next appetizer i normally have is the kimchee beef dumplings. They are really hot when you first get them they will be really hot like any dumpling and i suggest cutting a small hole in the outside to let a lot of the steam it has out. The reason you would want to do this instead of letting it cool down normally is because in my family someone else might eat them first. My grandmother in New Jersey makes something like these, and Dō Hwa’s are good enough to compare to hers. I’m smart enough to stop this paragraph here.
The salad i always have is the “Salmon Sashimi.” No other salad has ever had my entire family fighting over it. it has a gingery and snappy sauce and the arugula makes it little spicy. my favorite part of this salad is the salmon because the flavor of the salmon mixes perfectly with the ginger sauce that they put on the salad. That is not to say that the sauce does not go to well by itself, if you have a little sauce left over then just scoop it up with your spoon and eat it. I have had a similar type of ginger sauce in other places including at home and I would say that Dō Hwa does it better than any other place.
Alongside the appetizers Dō Hwa serves a traditional style “Banchun” or assorted dishes of yummy things. Some are eggy, some are fishy or salty, but each of them is small and has a sharp taste. This is sorta like a quick snack before dinner, but somehow it always makes you hungrier not less hungry. At most other Korean Food places I’m just not so hungry after the dozen plates of things they bring before the Appetizer. I think the secret here is that most other Korean restaurants overload the table with Banchun that aren’t sharp, and have larger portions too. Part of the secret of a good Banchun is that it prepares you for the meal.
The main dishes that usually have are savory, salty, and spicy, but there is one thing they are not; over sweetened. Now i am not saying that sweetened meat is “bad” however that is not what all Korean-y food is. I have recently tried a new restaurant, “Barn Joo”, and what they called kalbi was just sweetened sliced meat. I am pretty sure that Barn Joo’s way of cooking meat is: 1. throw meat in pan, 2. insert 200 pounds of brown sugar, 3. serve food, or at least thats what it feels like compared to the subtle tones of Dō Hwa’s fine art.
At Dō Hwa each food has a unique flavor however when they add flavor they don’t add too much like some other places where the food is too sour, or spicy. Here it is the right blend of flavors. The main dishes that i usually have are the Kalbi and the Bulgogi. Don’t roll your eyes I know that those are the standards, but the standards here are way above “standard.” Soft and smooth, their take on the classics are boneless, very tender and just more “steak-y.” Even the flavor is “steak-y-ier”.
My grandma got a type of noodles called Bibimgooksu. My dad sometimes orders this too. I tried it at the table where it blended in really well with the rest of the flavors we ordered. It was later that night, at home when I was chowing down on leftovers that Bibimgooksu really started to stand out on its own. It might be just the perfect blend of cold noodles dish, red pepper flavor with a zing of citrus. I just took the chopsticks from dad and made a “shoo” gesture with both hands. He got the message.
Summer menu this year had different dishes – fresh tasting, cold noodles with red spicy sauce, kimchee and beef. Also a dish with the same noodles, but a sweet and salty broth and an egg. Last was the spicy marinated shrimp fried with asparagus and served with cilantro. I don’t know exactly how they made grilled shrimp “refreshing.” I hope this one comes back next summer.
Dō Hwa on its own was all ready to get a 3.6 star rating, one of the highest grades I’ll ever give a restaurant on its own merits – please see my rubric. Then something “maker kid amazing” and also just “amazing” happened.
Since I started working as a “maker” a few years ago I have met some interesting people and discovered new heroes and role models. One of these is a woman known as “Lady Ada” also known as Limor Fried. Lady Ada is the owner of one of the great maker companies known as “Adafruit.” Lady Ada’s video introducing the Raspberry Pi “zero” is the strongest influence behind my soldering style. Watching her work has always been inspiring and her videos are always funny and have lots of really cool maker stuff to see and do.
Lady Ada is now in some way in control of the old Radio Shack company. My dad made fun of that with a combination logo that was a mashup of the Radio Shack logo, a NYC Parking sign, and the Adafruit logo. She used it in her video on October 11 2017 along with an interview with another of my inspirational maker friends Allie Webber (@robotmakergirl).
Two days later on Friday the 13th, while I was still laughing about all of this, I was sitting to dinner with my family at Dō Hwa. We were in a center table which is unusual for my family – we try to sit in out of the way tables. I was just starting to eat my Pajun (pancakes) when I noticed a pink haired person walk by along with someone who looked JUST like Lady Ada’s husband Phillip Torrone from the videos. Dad says my jaw hit the table before it hit the floor. This will likely get its own blog article.
I tried not to be too starstruck but who could help it, I wanted to meet lady ada for almost as long as I’ve been a “maker.” So, where you get to the part in my rubric about “something really cool happened here” that’s exactly what happened here. This is one of the very coolest things that happened to me and this year has had a lot of really cool things happen. The point is only in a city like NYC would this happen and if you want a cool NYC place to go eat with really amazing food and where cool things just “happen” – go for Dō Hwa.
Just like my tech reviews, remember only three of the five stars are “technical” and the other two are for kid coolness – which is not the same as “child friendly.” Kid coolness can be just about anything I found special or anything special that happened there. Any rating over three stars and you can bet its a place I’d go back to and a place worth trying.