**Since this post, Doka Square has closed down
I'm sure you've heard it all before...I know I have.
Every restaurant reference site in New York claims to have the best anything: pizza, $1 Oysters, instagrammable settings, brunch!
Brunch with Sam has the one happy hour location the top blogs seem to miss...I know because I checked.
What do you look for when you find a happy hour spot?
-Indoor vs Outdoor seating?
Doka Square on Delancey Street has it all. Doka Square sits on the corner of Delancey and Eldridge Street in the Lower East Side neighborhood. On a nice day, the side doors (facing Delancey Street) are open wide and there are tables situated in the doorway to experience the fresh air and sweet people watching. It's also a close walk for those that work in the SoHo/NoHo/ Nolita area. I was drawn to Doka just because of the open doorway. The inside features black and dark wood tables, a bar, and a sushi bar to the right, upon entry.
The cuisine is "Asian fusion." You can enjoy sushi, Korean liquor for your $20 pitcher, or Chinese hot wings.
On the first warm day of spring, I waltzed into Doka Square and sat right in the doorway. To start we ordered a pitcher of Soju and Pineapple. Soju is a liquor similar to sake, but made in South Korea. It is usually served neat, and its alcohol content varies from about 16.8% to 53% ABV! I advise that when you order a pitcher ask for little to no ice, or just ice in your cup because they will fill the pitcher to the top with ice.
For happy hour, Doka also has $3 draft beer, $5 wine, $7 well drinks, $10 margaritas, and $6 mimosas. I told you it was the best.
Since everything on the food menu was under $7, my friend and I ordered a couple different things. You can really make your happy hour event here into a tapas eating table.
Edamame (spicy $5): cooked in sesame oil, lightly sprinkled with panko crumbs, chili powder and salt.
Veggie Spring Rolls (6 for $6): Normally I'm not that thrilled with spring rolls, but Doka Square changed my mind on that one. Their spring rolls are crispy but still feel so light. It could be the sweet and sour sauce they serve with the dish that makes me feel that way.
Chicken Wings (5 for $5): Don't let the menu fool you, the real price for the chicken wings are $5. Their menu says $3, but the register rings up $5. You can argue it and they really have no choice but to adjust the price if they won't reprint the menu to reflect the correct pricing. The wings are super crispy and you can order the normal wings or their "oriental spiced" wings for $2 more.
Calamari ($5): The calamari is my number one recommendation. It's truly refreshing that it is not deep fried with a ton of breading. I love the light evidence of the panko crumbs and the slightly spicy seasoning they chose. It is served with red and green peppers for an additional flavor.
Doka Fries ($5): With everything that's on the happy hour menu and with what we chose to order, how could we not get the french fries? I have nothing bad to say about the fries. Honestly, if a restaurant can't nail fries then they should probably just close their doors now.
Doka Square was so good that I actually went back the next day, which happened to be a Saturday. Before I wound up there again, I did a quick google search for "$1 Oysters in Lower Manhattan." Everywhere popped up except Doka. I actually did not remember that Doka Square had $1 Oysters until we tried to get a table at Selrose and got shut down with a 1-hour wait time. While wandering down Delancey Street, yet again, the sandwich board on the sidewalk reminded me that the answer to happy hour even on the weekends is Doka Square.
Oysters are such a weird thing to describe. Even Akuro looked at me and said, "I don't know how to feel about oysters, like do they fill you up? What do they taste like?"
I can truly say that these were really good oysters. You notice a difference once there is one that actually tastes questionable. I noticed that these tasted very fresh, and not "fresh from the bay" fresh. I don't want to be reminded that I'm eating a "live" fish and taste remnants of the waters it came from. Doka Square keeps it simple with two wedges of lemons and a little cocktail sauce.
Even though I ate just about everything on the happy hour menu, I can see Doka Square being a regular stop for me. Inexpensive and tasty. You definitely get a good bang for your buck. My next stop here will have to be for dinner to experience their sushi bar and entrees.