Saturday, May 24, 2008

Sticky Rice - First Look

Swiss Family Rat made their first trip to Sticky Rice for the 5pm seating on Saturday. The place is beautiful, the staff was awesome, and the food was as good as I had hoped it would be.

Sticky Rice is only about four blocks from the Rat's Nest, so we threw BabyRat in the stroller and I enjoyed a PBR on the walk there. We arrived at about five minutes after Five o'clock and there was a crowd of people waiting on the sidewalk to get in the place. We had a brief wait chatting with other folks that were as excited to welcome Sticky Rice to the neighborhood as we were.

We finally made our way to the door and they asked for the size of our party, which surprised me a little bit because it was supposed a soft opening for folks that had reservations. After giving our name, they found us in their reservation system and we were ushered to a table upstairs.

One of my concerns as a parent who still likes to eat out is not being one of "those families" that has a screaming kid or small tornado of toys spilling everywhere. I nervously asked the table next to us if our stroller between the tables would be a problem, they were extremely gracious and greeted us with a smile so I knew everything would be cool. This brings me to my first kudos for Sticky Rice. Unlike many restaurants in DC (especially those located in rowhouses) they didn't have the tables practically on top of each other. There was plenty of room between tables so you couldn't hear anyone else's dinner conversation and if someone had to get up from their table you don't wind up with a face full of ass. They may decide later on that they can squeeze in another couple of tables, but for now the place is mad comfortable.

Within a minute or two of sitting down our server, Amy, came over, introduced herself, took our drink order (of course I had the double-duece of Sapporo) and got the meal started. Amy seemed to have a pretty good grip on the menu considering it was only their second night open and was able to make some recommendations and provide all the extra information we needed. We ended up getting edamame (natch), shitake happens, some sort of fried mushroom thing, potstickers, sticky balls, Szechuan shrimp, the fantabulous roll, and a side of rice for BabyRat.

The food was slow in coming out, but we expected that so it was no big deal. You can't go to a place where they just sat 40-50 people at one time, on their second night open, in a new kitchen and expect that the pace of the meal is going to be perfect. BabyRat and I wandered around the restaurant a bit while we were waiting, saw the back deck, ran into some folks we knew, checked out the bathrooms, and by the time we got back Amy had brought out BabyRat's rice.

I don't know if Amy worked at a family oriented joint or has kids or comes from a family of 10 or is just well-trained in the art of waiting tables; but after that she could do no wrong as far we were concerned. That kind of attention to a small detail told us that kids are welcome at Sticky Rice and not merely tolerated. If you somehow read this Amy, thanks again!! Your wonderful service really made our night!!

Over the next hour or so, the various dishes we had ordered came out in fits and starts; but rather than taking away from the meal it added to it, because we had the opportunity to concentrate on each dish as it came out. There was almost a fist fight at our table over the super flavorful mushrooms in the Shitake Happens, which were the first thing that came out after the rice. The potstickes were too spicy for the wife and kid, so I got to eat most of those myself.

The highlight of the meal was the Sticky Balls. BabyRat was licking the flying fish roe of the outside before taking a bite of the crunchy, fried, seafood-filled goodness. WifeRat felt guilty for chowing down on one of "my" dishes, probably because she didn't want to share her Szechuan shrimp. Speaking of which, you may want to note that even thought the Szechuan shrimp is listed with the noodles dishes, it's served with rice unless you ask for something different. The fantabulous roll lived up to its name and was super tasty; fresh crab, cream cheese, and tuna, what's not to like?

We were still waiting for our fried mushrooms when Eric (one of the managers) came over and sat down to apologize for not letting the staff know they had been 86'd for the night. Two cool points for Eric because he didn't make his staff take the heat for a mistake he made by not taking the item out of the POS for the night. It was extra cool because he bought my second beer and I was pretty full anyway and BabyRat was getting a little restless too, so it worked out pretty well for everyone.

My only complaint is that I was subjected to Billy Joel's "Uptown Girl" on the stereo. I don't give a fuck what kind of post-modern irony you're going for, you miss when you start playing Billy Joel. I'm convinced that when I go to Hell I will be forced to listen to an iPod loaded with Billy Joel, Meatloaf, and "Sweet Caroline" for all eternity. Just say no to Billy Joel, seriously folks.


Anonymous said...

Blow it out your ass. Sincerely, Billy Joel

Hill Rat said...

Wow!! I know Billy Joel doesn't have much going these days other than cashing royalty checks, but it's really flattering that he's reading my blog and taking the time to comment.

Anonymous said...

Billy Joel doesn't have much going these days? He just sold out two Shea Stadium shows in less than 45 minutes, sold out ten nights at Mohegan Sun's coliseum, recently broke a record for the most consecutive shows sold at Madison Square Garden, and is now Columbia Records most downloaded recording artist of all time. His Broadway show 'Movin Out' is still playing to sell-out audiences around the world and he is now the only performer to have sold out concerts at Yankee Stadium, Giants Stadium and Shea Stadium. What rock do you live under? Maybe you need to get off the 'Hill' and find out what's actually going on in the rest of the world. And don't be so flattered. I'm not Billy Joel. But I'm sure he would have told you to blow it out your ass anyway.

Hill Rat said...

Ordinarily I don't believe in feeding trolls, but I'm going to make an exception for you.

Who are you anyway if you're not Billy Joel? Are you his agent, his publicist, a member of his posse, or just the President of the Billy Joel Fan Club?

Regardless, thanks for taking the time to read my blog and comment. I honestly appreciate it, even if it's just someone flaming me for hating on Billy Joel.


Hill Rat

PS - WifeRat found your little rant hilarious.

Anonymous said...

I'm just a struggling songwriter who appreciates good music and good food. But I also happen to think that Billy Joel is someone worth listening to in this era of crap music and junk food. 'Uptown Girl' was written as a tongue-in-cheek homage to Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons, and it is quite clever if you listen to it with a sense of humor- as it was intended. Joel has written a great many wonderful songs in his career, and should not be lumped in with Meatloaf who never wrote a damn thing in his life. Thanks for giving me the opportunity to reply.

Hill Rat said...

I'm just a struggling songwriter who appreciates good music and good food.

I'm not a songwriter, but I do appreciate good music and good food so that's something we can agree on. Even if the songs you write aren't my cup of tea, I'll be happy to give you a link.

Joel has written a great many wonderful songs in his career, and should not be lumped in with Meatloaf who never wrote a damn thing in his life.

Duly noted and the offense you have taken at lumping BJ in with Meatloaf is much more understandable in that context.

As a songwriter, what's your take on this trend of taking an artist's song catalog (Mamma Mia, Moving Out, etc.) and repackaging it into a musical?

Thanks for giving me the opportunity to reply.

No worries mate, I look forward to hearing from you again.

Tom Aloisi said...

Wow! Sticky Rice is serving some sort of Asian-inspired Meatloaf?


Chris Metzler said...

An anonymous Billy Joel troll. Just when I thought life couldn't get weirder.

John said...

Now that the 4-day soft opening is over, is SR open for good?

Hill Rat said...

@Chris Metzler

Actually the Billy Joel guy turned out to be OK.


Open walk-in seating began yesterday at Sticky Rice. The official Grand Opening is set for Friday Night.

Anonymous said...

Billy Joel Blows. Bloated hack who is the musical equivalent of Dan Brown, or Thomas Kincade, painter of light. The only props he gets is that he at one time was able to convince Christy Brinkley to tug his unit. Before he drove into someone's house.

Tim said...

Good review.

I'm just cracking up that you call the kid 'baby rat.' Oh, man, yea. Cracks me up for some reason.

Hill Rat said...


BabyRat will probably be re-christened as KidRat or ToddlerRat soon because, as she is quick to tell you, "I'm not a baby, I'm a big kid!!!"

Anonymous said...

To Anonymous#2 - Your opinion only illustrates that you don't know shit from shinola. And despite your pompous literary pretensions, you'll never get Christie Brinkley to tug YOUR unit. Eat your heart out.

phil stickyrice said...

who would have thought rats in our restaurant would be a good thing!?? : ) thanks for coming in to see us and your feedback. for the record, i plan to sing Piano Man in your honor tuesday at our first karaoke night. cheers!!

Hill Rat said...

@phil stickyrice

Don't do it man! I'm a food blogger, and I'm important!!

Christine said...

I hear you with the Billy Joel...brings me back to college when a fellow newspaper editor played his "Greatest Hits" over and over and over...and over...good review, I've gotta check it out!

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