The Southside has an abundance of Korean restaurants to choose from and now there’s just one more to add to the list. The latest one to open is Dookbaeki. Located off of Calgary Trail, Dookbaeki offers something a little different compared to other Korean places in the area.
Unlike other places, they specialize in hot stone bowls. You won’t find any Korean Fried Chicken or Bibimbap here…
I’ll admit that only a few dishes caught my eye since their menu is quite small and features hot stone bowl soups/stews for the most part. They also have some starter dishes that would be great for sharing. And, there is drinks of course!
My short review – intimate space, friendly staff and good comfort food that comes at a decent price. But, if you’re not into hot stone bowls or soups in general, this might be not be the place for you… considering it’s what they specialize in.
I came with a group of friends so I was able to try a few dishes. All the bowls were fairly large and definitely good enough for a filling meal or to share. They also all came with a side of rice. Like any Korean restaurant, you’re also provided with side dishes to munch on before your food comes out. Here, we were given a beansprouts and radish dish.
Let’s get to the actual dishes…
For myself, I tried #10 – Sogogi Soontubu ($14). I usually order budae jjigae at Korean restaurants but since that wasn’t an option here, I tried to look for something similar (i.e. spicy). This one was also a recommendation from fellow foodie @krispybites and I loved it. It was basically like a spicy tofu stew that also came with beef. The broth itself was perfect for me, not overly spicy but still had a lot of flavour and just the right amount of heat. I’d definitely order this one again and might even say that it’s better than my usual go to of budae jjigae! Of all the dishes that I tried at my table, I think mine was my favourite.
I also really liked #13 – Wang Donkatsu ($15). This one is the only non hot stone bowl item on the menu for main dishes. Similar to tonkatsu, it consisted of breaded/deep fried pork cutlets which was served with rice and a salad. If I was to order something else here, I’d go for this one. The portion is huge, coming with 2 large pork cutlets and although it was quite simple, all of the components of the dish worked well together. The pork wasn’t dry at all and was topped with a delicious sauce.
The #6 – Gamja-tang ($15) was a more hearty and earthy tasting broth. It was a pork bone stew that came with daikon leaves. Although the menu said that it would be spicy, I didn’t find it to be spicy at all compared to my soup – but it was pretty flavourful in its own way. The daikon leaves reminded me of Chinese herbal soups.
On the other hand, the #1 – Seeollleong-tang ($14) was a beef bone soup that came with boiled beef and noodles. The #2 – Dogani-tang ($15) featured a traditional broth and with beef tendons. Both broths tasted the same to me and were very, very mild… It seemed to lack a lot of flavour compared to the other soups that we got in our party. My friend joked and said that he ordered a bowl of water.
My understanding is that you are supposed to add in the seasonings at the table (e.g hot sauce, jalapeno etc.). However, my friends still weren’t won over. The seasonings didn’t seem to cut it for them and they weren’t too happy with their meals. I didn’t try anything other than the broth for these dishes but was told that the beef tendon and beef were soft and cooked well.
Because I enjoyed what I ordered for myself , I’d say that I had a good first time experience here! My soup was flavourful and made for the perfect comfort food type of dish. I also liked the pork cutlet enough to consider coming back for it. I can’t say that all my friends felt the same way so I guess it would really depend on what you like and prefer with Korean food.
However, I do think that Dookbaeki is unique compared to other Korean places nearby since they do offer some sort of specialty with the hot stone bowls. If you are looking to try something new with Korean food or already enjoy the soups/stews, I’d say give Dookbaeki a visit and try it for yourself!
2872 Calgary Trail, Edmonton