Doshi, the modern Korean restaurant that opened last year in Winter Park, has two distinctions: It was designated a Recommended restaurant in the second edition of Michelin Guide, a considerable honor for a first-year restaurant.
It also is the only restaurant to my knowledge in Central Florida to have electronically and remotely-controlled bidets in the restrooms. As distinctions go, the Michelin thing is much bigger. But I also have to wonder if the other thing has moved us into a brave new era.
The Michelin recognition is deserved. The restaurant, from brothers Jimmy Tung and Johnny Tung of the Bento Group, grew from of a ghost-kitchen operation called Doshibox that worked out of the Collab Kitchen on Curry Ford Road. Doshi occupies a small space in an outparcel in front of Nordstrom Rack at the intersection of Lee Road and Orlando Avenue in Winter Park.
Blond wood dominates the decor in the flooring, tabletops and an angular room divider that separates the main dining area from the open kitchen and chef’s counter. There is a chandelier reminiscent of dueling light sabers and stylish pendants over some of the tables. A large mural depicting a tiger and a magpie on a wall behind a banquette is the only major artwork. (Tigers and magpies are a popular motif in Korean art – tigers are thought to have the power to ward off evil and magpies herald good news.)
The menu is not as extensive as you’d find in other Korean restaurants nor does it need to be; the selections are thoughtful and varied. Even the banchan, the side dishes usually served complimentary at the beginning of the meal, are more succinct, with just three – kimchi, beans and pickles – instead of the usual 10 or so.
My dinner guests and I started with some extra “banchan bites” from the menu. The crispy Brussels sprouts were a favorite, flavored with honey and soy and topped with pomegranate.
(Just curious: Could someone swipe the bidet’s remote control and surprise the next person who uses the restroom?)
KFC wings (for Korean fried chicken) was billed to be sweet and spicy but was only sweet, and a bit sticky, too.
Cheesy tteokbokki, gummy rice cake nubbins, could easily be mistaken for gnocchi. They were tossed with truffle-infused mozzarella and crunchy pumpkin seeds.
Shrimp fire noodles were a standout entree. The hand-cut noodles were coated in a spicy sauce and topped with a fried egg. A server did the honors of tossing the noodles, shrimp and egg together (and was unwilling to wait for a “before” photo).
The seafood bibimbap had scallops, shrimp and octopus served in a crock. I loved the crunchy bits of rice that came from the bottom of the pan.
Kurobuta pork belly featured tender grilled meat seasoned with ssamjang and served with a side of kimchi, radishes, and perilla leaves to wrap them all up in.
Servers comported themselves efficiently.
Doshi brings a welcome sophistication to the Korean food experience. Its critical praise is well deserved.