Every time I dine here, I walk out with the feeling that I haven't been to a restaurant, but that I have walked in to an accidental offering of food, and that I gave that guy walking around the dining room more money than he was expecting. Then I leave, and feel that I am in Chinatown in Los Angeles. There is something fun about this, but I can't explain it. (I am not smoking anything.)
Doson's is a Vietnamese restaurant in the middle of the blossoming restaurant row on Carrollton near Canal. The clientele is young and hip to Vietnamese food, and keeps it busy. That influence has motivated the kitchen to move away from the Americanized fare it once cooked to a more ethnic flavor--reversing usual course of restaurant evolution.
Doson's began as the interestingly named "Chinese's Chinese Restaurant" on Oak Street. After a few years, it changed its name and its menu to include at least as much Vietnamese food as Chinese. As years passed, the Chinese aspect has all but disappeared, leaving a menu centered on the Vietnamese noodle soups and noodle dishes, with a scattering of other Viet eats. The restaurant made a counterintuitive move after Katrina, leaving its original, unflooded location on for a building half as big that took between four and five feet of long-standing flood water. But that has worked well for them.
It's a long, narrow room with tables starting inches inside the front door. The decor is spare and the lighting low. The service staff moves at a much more leisurely pace than in most Vietnamese places.
If you're a regular at some other Vietnamese place, don't expect those flavors to be exactly the same here. But that's true of all ethnic restaurants.