Restaurant Review: Daofu

     

    However, the restaurant isn’t fully submerged in the Orient — there are have forks, and the menu is completely in English. The atmosphere is an eclectic mix, bringing the best of Asian culture into a comfortable setting for anyone who wants a taste of the Far East.

    The design is different from the typical Asian restaurant: There are thatched roofs on either end of the rectangular building, which gives the illusion of being outdoors even though you’re inside. The red lanterns strung overhead, the enormous oriental vase in front of the entrance and the soft string music adds to the Chinese feel. After taking in the interior, the complimentary pre-meal salad is brought out, ingredients bought fresh from the Adams Avenue Farmers Market. The greens are slightly overpowered by the sweet yet acidic fruit dressing, which is as red as blood and tastes just like raspberries. The dressing, though thick, isn’t heavy, and it doesn’t take away from the refreshingly light salad.

    After ordering from the three-fold menu of vegetarian options, regular dishes and drinks, the walls of DaoFu begin to stand out. The once-white walls are now plastered with crayon scribbles, anime-style doodles and anything else any customer wants to draw. It’s a free-for-all — if you can find space.

    The contrast between the wall art and the Oriental mood softens the stuffy, pristine look that many other restaurants have, so it’s a nice place for a date. The restaurant is dim enough to be romantic and roomy, but so dark that you need to squint to see the food on your plate.

    A fried tofu appetizer ($3) is the first dish to come out. It consists of a block of pan-fried tofu sitting in a soy sauce concoction and topped with shallots and red pepper. It is crispy and cool on the outside but hot and soft on the inside. The large size of the plate allows for big portions and a decorative arrangement of meals.

    Their mock chicken is a little on the gooey and soft side, but the meat texture is definitely there. Their real chicken is more of the opposite: It tastes overcooked and dry, not the juicy texture customers may be looking for.

    Pricing is pretty spot-on, except for drinks. Their alcohol selection is rather small — only a limited variety of wine, beer and sake — so no mixed drinks here. The white wine ($7) is served un-chilled, and only half of the enormous glass is filled, making it seem like there’s less than there really is. Rather than coming to the restaurant for drinks, order an asahi or sake to complement the meal.

    Their level of spiciness is definitely worth noting. On a scale of one to 10, a one is considered mild, and a two is pretty spicy. Nevertheless, many people do choose the 10th level. However, the spice differs for each dish. The chicken mango dish ($9.20) is one to be eaten with the spice, as it complements the sweetness of the mango. 

    At the end comes the complimentary ice cream. The scoop is small, but it is the perfect size to refresh and balance your palate from all that spice in the main dishes. It comes on a square plate arranged with a slice of strawberry and mango and is drizzled with mango and strawberry syrup.

    The customer service at DaoFu is friendly and accommodating. It could be because the restaurant is rather small, but even on a packed Saturday night, the employees will occasionally take turns asking you whether you have been seated until you’re no longer crowding the entrance. The wait is short, the food is good and the ambiance provides a departure from the norm. (4/5)

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