Note: This restaurant has closed.
I had read that a new Korean restaurant had opened in San Leandro and I was eager to give it a try. I'm not much of a Korean food aficionado but I like it well enough. So my friend and I tried it for lunch on a Thursday evening in late November, 2001.
The restaurant, located in East 14th several blocks away from City Hall, was sparkly clean and looked very new. The black and white tiled floors reminded me of a diner, and even though the walls were somewhat decorated the place looked quiet spartan. I think this may be a better choice for lunch than for dinner, when I find ambiance more important.
Service was good, though obviously the waitress (who is not quite fluent in English) is learning the ropes. Korean speakers should have no problem, English speakers may be better off pointing at the menu. Still, they were very friendly and gracious.
The food, however, is what really shone at Doo Rae Bak. I can't quite tell you what I had, as I'm not very acquainted with Korean dishes and I don't remember the name. It was a spicy beef dish (number 3 in the lunch menu), very spicy and very savory. My friend had another of the beef dishes and it was very good as well. They both were about $6, and as I'm told is the practice in Korean restaurants, they came accompanied by a plethora of other dishes. These included a rather insipid broth, a generous bowl of sticky rice, and small plates with cold transparent noodles (my friend really liked them, I'm not partial to cold food), savory potatoes (even I could tell they were good, but again, they were cold), cucumber slices, spinach and bean sprouts. My friend, who is much more knowledgeable of Korean food (and eats vegetables :) thought they were good. Not the best food she's had, but quite well made. For the price, however, I don't think it can be beat.
I am sure to return to Doo Rae Bak, probably for lunch, probably soon.
Doo Rae Bak Korean Restaurant
458 E. 14th Street