First Look: Doc Chey’s Dragon Bowl, Emory Village

In July, Doc Chey’s Noodle House in Emory Village closed to make way for a new Doc Chey’s concept dubbed Dragon Bowl. The focus is on Asian-inspired made-to-order bowls with grilled meats, healthy grains and a variety of local and seasonal ingredients.

The look: The interior was redesigned to create a fast casual flow. Guests line up next to a bright chalkboard wall featuring the daily menu and order at the counter before finding a table, a booth or a seat on the front patio. Across one wall of the dining room, a colorful mural created by local graffiti artist Brandon Sadler depicts a “guardian dragon.”

The scene: One recent afternoon, a friendly server greeted guests at the door, explaining the new concept, and guiding first timers through the menu. The convivial lunch crowd was typical of Emory Village, with a mix of students, families and middle-aged couples.

The food: Dragon Bowls ($8-$10) were first introduced as rotating specials at Doc Chey’s. The steps in the super simple menu start with picking one of five flavor “styles,” Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Thai or Vietnamese. You add noodles, rice or salad greens, then choose among proteins and veggies. For example, you could build a Korean bowl with spicy barbecue sauce and kimchi pickles, and add brown rice, marinated ribeye steak, roasted broccoli and bean sprouts. Beyond bowls, find a few starters ($5), such as edamame with sea salt and veggie or pork pan-fried dumplings.

The drinks: The beverage menu features organic and fair-trade iced ($2-$3) or hot ($2.50) teas and housemade ginger ale ($3). The recent beer list included Monday Night Fu Man Brew, Sweetwater 420 and Tsingtao Chinese lager ($3.50). There’s a small selection of wine by the glass ($4-$6,) and sake is served hot or cold ($3), in sangria ($4), or infused ($5).

The extras: Look for daily specials and a changing selection of local and seasonal vegetables. The free Karma Card offers guests a way to earn points for free food and special offers.

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