Many restaurants have come and gone in the space that is 2802 South Shepherd, but its latest tenant looks like it’s here to stay. Dosi Restaurant + Soju Bar is certainly putting forth a valiant effort to “reverse the curse” by offering a curated menu of nouveau Korean cuisine in a stylish revamped dining space that features one of the most stunning communal tables in Houston.
Banchan menu items such as kale chips and scallion pancakes are in themselves not novel yet become so at Dosi thanks to artful presentation and unique twists on ingredients. Kale chips, for example, are infused with tapioca pearls to produce a variegated texture and served with a dollop of wheatgrass yogurt and the scallion pancakes are thinner and more crepe-like and topped with a tangy, briney salad of white anchovies, watercress, and cured lemon and soy. Other small plates seem foreign but taste familiar, like the “jalapeno steam bread.” One bite of these dense, doughy dumplings reminds you of the baozi common among dish sum, but again an unorthodox accompaniment of wild rice jook and sausage transforms what might be a monotone carbohydrate dish into something more fragrant in flavor.
The same can be seed for the delightful “street dumplings,” so not your standard meat-in-a-steamed-glutinous-casing but rather spicy rice puffs (Korean gnocchi?) laced with with pork belly, Brussel sprouts, and pear, for a hint of sweetness. Other notable plates from the “Share” portion of the menu include pork belly, served in sumptuous grilled slices flanked by moo radish and ssamjang, a paste of garlic, bean paste, onions, and chilis, both of which prevent the fatty pork from being cloying via the introduction of some spice and vegetables.
One of Dosi’s most popular dishes is KFC—no, not the soggy processed stuff proffered by that antebellum octogenarian in a white suit, but rather, “Korean Fried Chicken.” This preparation involves a double fry that traditionally produces a terrifically crisp, almost flaky skin that crackles like a campfire on a brisk October night.
The imaginative food at Dosi can (pleasantly) distract you from fully appreciating their selection of blended and infused soju. For those unfamiliar with this distilled Asian beverage, sampling the spirit for the first time can be enlightening, and maybe even make you swear off vodka for good. At Dosi, shelves of glass jars of various infusions are set up along an entire wall tempting you to try oh so many different flavors. While the soju cocktails like “the pink one” (citrus, lime, raspberry soju) are good, I suggest sampling the infused stuff straight via a flight of four shots. Whatever combination you choose, make sure it includes the strawberry vanilla, whose sly sweetness belies a latent punch.
For dessert, got goat milk? Dosi does, for dessert in the form of goat milk ice cream topped with pine nut granola, strawberries, and matcha powder. Pair with more soju.
Finally, don’t hesitate to shout to get a bit rowdy for fear of traumatizing younger, sober diners. A small shoutout goes to Dosi’s owners for having the courage to explicitly ban children under seven years of age and discourage the presence of any children after 7pm. Children may be our future, but they are not the center of the universe and therefore need not be a ubiquitous fixture at every dining establishment in town. Gunbae!
Dosi Restaurant & Soju Bar
2802 S Shepherd Dr Houston, TX 77098