Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Sticky Rice

Sticky Rice was one of the first of the new wave of restaurants to sweep H Street NE.  It was serving up sushi and tots (yes, tater tots) long before the hippest of hipsters realized that there was life beyond Northwest.  I have no idea why it took us years to try Sticky Rice, but I have a feeling it may enter our regular rotation.

We arrived on a Sunday evening without a reservation and were too starving to wait out the 45 minutes for a table upstairs.  We grabbed a table in the downstairs bar area, underneath a disco ball.  We were told that you have to go to the bar to order food, but a waiter was serving the bar tables on this busy night.
After ordering a round of drinks (something sweet in a Mason jar for me and sake for B after the waiter misheard his request for Asahi . . . it's really loud in there), we turned our sights to the sushi menu.  We kicked off the party with the Starter Combo of nigiri.  The selection was fresh and as melt-in-your-mouth as any nigiri we've had in this town.  I'm a die-hard hamachi fan but was pleasantly surprised by my first taste of tilapia sushi.

From the roll section we tried the Chilli Roll with tuna, cilantro, cucumber, jalapeno, grilled pineapple, tempura crunchies, and tobiko.  This is the kind of inventive roll that can either be amazingly delicious or a terrible idea.  Unfortunately, this fell squarely in the middle.  The idea was a good one (and raised our hopes) but with all those promised flavors packed into one bite, it came out surprisingly bland.
The Sticky Balls may be just the sort of dish your doctor warned you against but, in our non-medical opinions, is totally worth it.  They take an inari pocket (tofu wrapper) and stuff it with tuna, crab and sriracha rice.  Then they deep fry it and top it off with scallions, wasabi dressing, and eel sauce.  Our eyes rolled back in our heads in pure pleasure as we took a bite.  So bad, yet so good.

Speaking of so bad, yet so good....here's a giant bucket of tots with their secret tater tot sauce. We kept thinking that the bucket had a false bottom and was really only half full, but we were wrong. We ate our way all the way down to the bottom and realized you probably ought to share this between more than two people. We aren't complaining though. These tots would make Napoleon proud.

We waddled out of Sticky Rice determined to make a return visit and determined to hit the gym for the next 100 days in a row to burn off all that deliciousness. We may be slacking on the gym part, but we have plans to go back for more Sticky Balls ASAP.

Second Thoughts from B

It is bad enough that it took us so long to go to Sticky Rice in the first place.  But when you factor in the fact that I'm friends with the wife of one of the co-owners, it is downright embarrassing.  Still, I'll try and give my honest opinion (thankfully I had a great time).

Sticky Rice confused me.  Was it a bar or a restaurant?  A sushi joint or an American comfort food diner?  I can understand if people don't feel comfortable with this odd mish-mash of ideas, but in a strange way, I liked it.

I like being surprised and trying something new.  I certainly like sushi and tater tots, though I've never enjoyed them together.  And I like going to a place that is unique.

Some people go to a buffet and carefully design their meals by grouping familiar items.  Steak goes with potatoes.  Soup or salad, never both.  Me?  I'll pile that plate high with waffles covered in strawberries right next to the fish filet and chow mein.   If you're like me, good food is good food no matter how it is packaged or combined.  That's Sticky Rice.  A little strange, but a lot of good stuff. Sticky Rice on Urbanspoon

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