Friday, April 16, 2010

Sticky Rice

oh snap. double whammy. so much to post. so little time. so many restaurants. can my wallet take it? probably not but at least my belly is full.

After taking a less 24 than hour trip to the south (NC), best friend of BOOF, Mo, kindly picked me up from the airport. On the way back into the city, suddenly a great hunger overcame us and clearly in our minds, the only restaurant that would deliciously fill that void in the H street corridor is Sticky Rice. Although there are numerous delicious restaurants that are popping up all over the H Street Corridor such as Liberty Tree, the well established "Dr. Granville Moore's" and the relatively new, SOUK, Sticky Rice's tater tots were clearly calling our name

when venturing to the H street corridor, do not get dismayed. Although its a bumpy ride up to the top of H street, it is well worth the trip. You might find yourself a little uneasy as it appears to be a not as nice neighborhood; however, after living here for the past 8 months, I will say that it is one of the most diverse and gentrifying areas of the city. The cat calls are typical for any location in the city (yes, even in foggy bottom), but the people are good-hearted and the area is actually very very safe. It was recently tabbed as the Best Up and Coming neighborhood by CityPaper, so take that! Columbia Heights...

easiest way to get there is to hop on the X2 from Chinatown or if you're lucky, there is a free H Street Shuttle that picks up in Chinatown and drops off at Rock & Roll Hotel.

Now moving onto the restaurant and the food. SR has been typified as "Asian Fusion". When I typically rave about SR, everyone is like WTF is "Asian Fusion"? Well, Asian fusion is a variety of Asian food/recipes/spices all rolled into a delicious menu. SR is always bustling. On a typical night, you will have to wait 10-15 minutes for a table, but many chose to take a seat at the bar and order a few drinks before getting seated up or downstairs. If you want a quieter setting, I recommend requesting to be seated upstairs as downstairs can become quite the ravenous scene with loud music, people weaving in and out and random music videos playing on the projector screen. The restaurant features a full bar with a nice selection of mixed drinks, beer and even...Sake...BOMB! The drafts are always solid, usually featuring your usual bud light, miller light, blue moon, maybe a doghead (?) and stella. I potentially just made that list up but essentially, just a nice standard draft list but they have a good assortment of bottled beers as well.

Sticky Rice is a pretty small space which is why on thurs-sat night, there is at least a 45 minute wait in the evening, and they do not take reservations under any circumstance. The decor is very warm featuring a lot of reds and blacks with nice hardwood floors. The Sushi bar is upstairs and on any given night, you will see probably 3 or 4, not your average sushi chef forming delicious rolls. you will understand what I mean by that when you go. :-)

first things first. you must never go to SR and not order the tater tots to start off. They are the staple of the restaurant because they are usually not only fried and battered to perfection, but the dipping that dipping sauce is most delicious. It has enough a creamy taste but the spicy kick that it also features causes you to force feed yourself tater tots. You feel like you're back in a middle school cafeteria lunch but it is much better. much much better

SR boasts a very eclectic and diverse sushi menu, a far departure from your standard sushi rolls. They will put anything and everything into a sushi roll w including foods like sweet potato, goat cheese, and toasted almonds. My only draw back about the Sushi at SR is that it is hit or miss with its freshness. On this particular night, Mo ordered an assortment of Sashimi and Nigri and was very pleased with how fresh it was. Nevertheless, I have never had a bad experience with their sushi and I have tried numerous rolls on prior visits.

A positive thing about SR is that even if you are not in the mood for Sushi, there are delicious bowls that await you. On this evening, I opted for a personal favorite, the "Dirty Vegan" and I decided to order it with the Udon noodles. It features various vegetables and tofu cooked and tossed in a tasty peanut sauce. It is delicious. The best thing about the "bowls" is that you will definitely have tomorrow's lunch already prepared when you leave the restaurant.

I believe that one of SR's best qualities is its very vegetarian/vegan friendly menu. There are numerous options for both food lifestyles as well as numerous meat-eater options. There is no discrimination at SR. Moreover, as the pescatarian that I am, there menu is also to my liking as eat features not only your typical eel, salmon, yellow tail and tuna, but it also makes the DMV's favorite seafood, Crab, a primary part of their menu. OH and let's not forget, Mo, is the resident gluten-free foodie and SR boasts numerous gluten free options on their extensive menu. Furthermore, they also offer all of their bowls with the option for rice noodles/or rice so that is also a tasty option if you're a "non-sushi liker" Gluten Free foodie. I don't want to review previous visits to SR but i will note that if you are ever there when they have the Mac & Cheese with Crab meat special, purchase it. eat it. love it.

As previously mentioned, there are some issues with SR too. 1) Freshness of seafood is hit or miss which essentially makes the whole SR experience hit or miss. 2) Sometimes overcrowded. It is unfortunate that the only time you can have a really quiet dinner is late night. 3) No reservations. This becomes a real big issue because for me, I find it ridiculous that i have to walk the block and a half and wait at the bar for 45 minutes to be seated, when I could have done that in the pleasure of my own home.

Sticky Rice is not the ideal place for a large group only because they can't really accommodate it, but it is ideal for a small group of friends or a date with your significant other.

Overall, food is good and inventive but it is not unbelievable and is not the best sushi you will ever have. Noodle dishes and appetizers are also tasty. High grade because it is close to the top in the "Good Sushi but affordable" category and SR does a great job of accommodating everyone's different eating preferences.

Grade: B/B+

Weekly Deals and Fun:

Monday: 1/2 Priced Sushi after 10:30 pm-- if you can stay up this late, it is definitely worth it

Tuesday: Karaoke Night (and I also believe this features $2 dollar Tecate's)

Wednesday: Wing Night

Thursday: Bingooooo

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