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  • Post #61 - March 30th, 2014, 2:00 pm
    Post #61 - March 30th, 2014, 2:00 pm Post #61 - March 30th, 2014, 2:00 pm
    I've never been to Ruxbin and don't know them, but, put simply, they haven't received the accolades or publicity that Fat Rice has.


    That has always been a bit odd to me, as Ruxbin is easily as good as Fat Rice. The publicity that Fat Rice gets is somewhat perplexing to me particularly on a national level, but I suspect a lot of it is their story– Macanese food is interesting, there are no other Macanese restaurants in Chicago and few in the US. Fat Rice's dishes and owners are also highly charismatic. Ruxbin lacks a real signature dish. Their chef is quiet.

    Ruxbin did have lines. It was annoying, especially considering their price point and that it's a nice sit down restaurant. And it didn't have the buzz Fat Rice does, so I think they probably had to switch to a system more geared for adults rather than underemployed hipsters with nothing better to do. The staffing overhead to reservations and taking cell phone numbers is a concern, but other restaurants do it. It's similar to the overhead of taking credit cards. Yeah, it seems like an annoying expense, but it's more than inconvenient for most customers to not take them. In addition there are a bunch of electronic queuing systems out there such as the one Little Goat uses.
  • Post #62 - March 30th, 2014, 2:04 pm
    Post #62 - March 30th, 2014, 2:04 pm Post #62 - March 30th, 2014, 2:04 pm
    mgmcewen wrote: That has always been a bit odd to me, as Ruxbin is easily as good as Fat Rice.


    You can say that "to me" Ruxbin is easily as good as Fat Rice. But I don't see how you can state is as fact. Perhaps you disagree but I'd be curious to hear the rationale for it.
    "Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit; wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad." Miles Kington
  • Post #63 - March 30th, 2014, 2:24 pm
    Post #63 - March 30th, 2014, 2:24 pm Post #63 - March 30th, 2014, 2:24 pm
    boudreaulicious wrote:
    mgmcewen wrote: That has always been a bit odd to me, as Ruxbin is easily as good as Fat Rice.


    You can say that "to me" Ruxbin is easily as good as Fat Rice. But I don't see how you can state is as fact. Perhaps you disagree but I'd be curious to hear the rationale for it.


    Well, of course it's just my opinion, as are most things written here. I would say that this is based on my experiences with both restaurants revealing them to both execute their dishes really well on a basic level, as well as manage to have surprising flavors and interesting elements in their dishes. Fat Rice's advantage is that their dishes sound more interesting and also tend pack more of a punch in terms of spiciness which I do really enjoy. For example Fat Rice's squid dish vs. Ruxbin's octopus. Both have intense umami elements, Asiatic aromatic flavors, and are pretty much as good as it gets in terms of cooking those cephalopods to their maximum deliciousness and perfect texture. Mott St. is also a rival of Fat Rice's, but unfortunately in my experience many of their dishes are a bit uneven in terms of basic execution and some are boring.

    I would note there are restaurants that also manage to handle the no reservations thing a little better, but Chicago seems to be the oddest place for the trend of handling demand this way.
    Last edited by mgmcewen on April 29th, 2014, 5:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.
  • Post #64 - March 30th, 2014, 3:31 pm
    Post #64 - March 30th, 2014, 3:31 pm Post #64 - March 30th, 2014, 3:31 pm
    Figured that's what you meant :)

    I do want to try Ruxbin--I'd heard mixed things and the price point, combined with location and the no-reservation thing all kept me away. But now that the frenzy has died down a bit, I'll, hopefully, get over there.
    "Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit; wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad." Miles Kington
  • Post #65 - March 30th, 2014, 3:45 pm
    Post #65 - March 30th, 2014, 3:45 pm Post #65 - March 30th, 2014, 3:45 pm
    boudreaulicious wrote:Figured that's what you meant :)

    I do want to try Ruxbin--I'd heard mixed things and the price point, combined with location and the no-reservation thing all kept me away. But now that the frenzy has died down a bit, I'll, hopefully, get over there.

    I didn't have a great meal at Ruxbin (my one and only time there) but some of the dishes were stellar and it was a long time ago. I'm guessing they've evolved nicely since then. And the byo aspect can be great, too. I think I should try it again, especially now that reservations are possible. Speaking of which, while reservations aren't taken at Fat Rice, they do have that very pleasant waiting space, where one can order snacks and drinks. When Ruxbin wasn't taking reservations, the waiting room was essentially the sidewalk. As a diner, that's a much higher hurdle to jump.

    As for the cocktails at Fat Rice, I have mixed feelings about them but as someone for whom a neat pour of bourbon can sometimes be too sweet, I'm probably not the best reference point.

    I think the service at Fat Rice is far more polished than at Ruxbin but again, that's comparing several experiences at Fat Rice to one at Ruxbin.

    Not every place is going to speak the same way to each of us. Thank heaven, for that.

    =R=
    Why don't you take these profiteroles and put them up your shi'-ta-holes? --Jemaine & Bret

    There's a horse loose in a hospital --JM

    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain
  • Post #66 - March 30th, 2014, 8:51 pm
    Post #66 - March 30th, 2014, 8:51 pm Post #66 - March 30th, 2014, 8:51 pm
    robert40 wrote:Start accepting reservations and they will be booked 30 days out. Supply and demand, simple as that. From a business standpoint it is more practical for a small restaurant "not" to accept reservations. And after all, it is first and foremost a business.



    And that would be bad for business because?
    fine words butter no parsnips
  • Post #67 - March 30th, 2014, 10:13 pm
    Post #67 - March 30th, 2014, 10:13 pm Post #67 - March 30th, 2014, 10:13 pm
    Roger Ramjet wrote:
    robert40 wrote:Start accepting reservations and they will be booked 30 days out. Supply and demand, simple as that. From a business standpoint it is more practical for a small restaurant "not" to accept reservations. And after all, it is first and foremost a business.



    And that would be bad for business because?


    Taking reservations? It's bad because, in the case of Fat Rice, a reservations system would never keep them full the way they are now. Every chair is occupied almost every minute they are open. With resos you have the undesirables who cancel their 815 Friday reso at 750 on Friday and also your no-shows. That leaves you empty chairs, even if it's just for the 15 minutes grace period you give the no-show and the 5 minutes it takes to shuttle someone from the bar to the now-vacant table. Unless you're doing tickets and the money is guaranteed, that's a vitally important distinction to make. You drop your RevPASH every time a seat sits empty even for a short time, and in those cases you're losing money because you have bad customers who don't have the courtesy to cancel a day in advance. It's bad because they'd pay Open Table $1.00 for every seated diner that booked via that system. It sounds like they're doing about 1K diners/week. If just 50% use OpenTable, they're paying $2000/month to OT for resos. Why take that expense on if you need not?
  • Post #68 - March 30th, 2014, 10:37 pm
    Post #68 - March 30th, 2014, 10:37 pm Post #68 - March 30th, 2014, 10:37 pm
    jhdouglass wrote:
    Roger Ramjet wrote:
    robert40 wrote:Start accepting reservations and they will be booked 30 days out. Supply and demand, simple as that. From a business standpoint it is more practical for a small restaurant "not" to accept reservations. And after all, it is first and foremost a business.



    And that would be bad for business because?


    Taking reservations? It's bad because, in the case of Fat Rice, a reservations system would never keep them full the way they are now. Every chair is occupied almost every minute they are open. With resos you have the undesirables who cancel their 815 Friday reso at 750 on Friday and also your no-shows. That leaves you empty chairs, even if it's just for the 15 minutes grace period you give the no-show and the 5 minutes it takes to shuttle someone from the bar to the now-vacant table. Unless you're doing tickets and the money is guaranteed, that's a vitally important distinction to make. You drop your RevPASH every time a seat sits empty even for a short time, and in those cases you're losing money because you have bad customers who don't have the courtesy to cancel a day in advance. It's bad because they'd pay Open Table $1.00 for every seated diner that booked via that system. It sounds like they're doing about 1K diners/week. If just 50% use OpenTable, they're paying $2000/month to OT for resos. Why take that expense on if you need not?

    That pretty much covers it. Thank you!
  • Post #69 - March 31st, 2014, 12:01 am
    Post #69 - March 31st, 2014, 12:01 am Post #69 - March 31st, 2014, 12:01 am
    Ok, folks . . . before this veers any further off course, let's remember that this thread is about Fat Rice and we'd like to keep it that way. If you want to discuss the general merits -- or lack thereof -- of reservations, you can do so on this thread.

    Now, back to Fat Rice.

    Thanks,

    =R=
    for the Moderators
    Why don't you take these profiteroles and put them up your shi'-ta-holes? --Jemaine & Bret

    There's a horse loose in a hospital --JM

    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain
  • Post #70 - March 31st, 2014, 8:06 am
    Post #70 - March 31st, 2014, 8:06 am Post #70 - March 31st, 2014, 8:06 am
    They could also raise prices if they wanted the line to die down. I think Fat Rice is slightly inexpensive right now for what they serve
  • Post #71 - March 31st, 2014, 8:12 am
    Post #71 - March 31st, 2014, 8:12 am Post #71 - March 31st, 2014, 8:12 am
    ronnie_suburban wrote:Ok, folks . . . before this veers any further off course, let's remember that this thread is about Fat Rice and we'd like to keep it that way. If you want to discuss the general merits -- or lack thereof -- of reservations, you can do so on this thread.

    Now, back to Fat Rice.

    Thanks,

    =R=
    for the Moderators


    Okay, but I think I ought to get one chance to respond here to the answers to the question I posed here. Delete if necessary.

    In the first place, I highlighted the point I was questioning. (It's the part in red BF.) No-one responded substantively to that. (I don't think "That about covers it" is entirely responsive (or useful) but those who find it satisfying are free to do so.) Many restaurant owners would consider being booked solid 30 days in advance to be a good thing from a business standpoint - the suggestion that it would be bad business piqued my curiosity.

    Secondly, Fat Rice (emphasized since that is after all what we're discussing :wink: ), if it were to accept reservations, could deal with no-shows the same way all the other restaurants that take reservations do: by accepting standbys or walk-ins to fill those spaces.
    fine words butter no parsnips
  • Post #72 - April 6th, 2014, 11:01 pm
    Post #72 - April 6th, 2014, 11:01 pm Post #72 - April 6th, 2014, 11:01 pm
    There are financial benefits to not accepting reservations for sure.

    But. The paradox is that not accepting reservations is a more egalitarian way of doing things. If you are willing to wait, you can dine almost any night of your choice. Whereas for small places that have lines out the door (avec, Fat Rice, etc), if they switched to a reservations-based system, no one would ever be able to get in. They'd be booked at a MINIMUM 30 days out, if not longer, especially in the case of avec during the convention season.

    I worked at avec for many years and I always liked explaining this to our guests. It allows us to serve more people. It really is the fairest way of handling high demand.

    Anyway, sorry, off-topic. Please feel free to move this :)
  • Post #73 - April 7th, 2014, 7:58 am
    Post #73 - April 7th, 2014, 7:58 am Post #73 - April 7th, 2014, 7:58 am
    NeroW wrote:There are financial benefits to not accepting reservations for sure.

    But. The paradox is that not accepting reservations is a more egalitarian way of doing things. If you are willing to wait, you can dine almost any night of your choice. Whereas for small places that have lines out the door (avec, Fat Rice, etc), if they switched to a reservations-based system, no one would ever be able to get in. They'd be booked at a MINIMUM 30 days out, if not longer, especially in the case of avec during the convention season.

    I worked at avec for many years and I always liked explaining this to our guests. It allows us to serve more people. It really is the fairest way of handling high demand.

    Anyway, sorry, off-topic. Please feel free to move this :)


    I talked to a couple of friends who work in the food and beverage industry about it and they said they like that Fat Rice doesn't make it too easy to dine there because it selects for a certain type of diner. To them it's a feature rather than a bug. An interesting perspective for sure. I have to say, when I have been there there have been fewer of the more annoying types of diners, particularly the more casual foodie type who might also be a dudebro who works in marketing.
  • Post #74 - April 7th, 2014, 8:04 am
    Post #74 - April 7th, 2014, 8:04 am Post #74 - April 7th, 2014, 8:04 am
    ronnie_suburban wrote:Ok, folks . . . before this veers any further off course, let's remember that this thread is about Fat Rice and we'd like to keep it that way. If you want to discuss the general merits -- or lack thereof -- of reservations, you can do so on this thread.

    Now, back to Fat Rice.

    Thanks,

    =R=
    for the Moderators


    Nice try Ronnie. Maybe next time.
  • Post #75 - April 7th, 2014, 10:27 am
    Post #75 - April 7th, 2014, 10:27 am Post #75 - April 7th, 2014, 10:27 am
    mgmcewen wrote:
    I talked to a couple of friends who work in the food and beverage industry about it and they said they like that Fat Rice doesn't make it too easy to dine there because it selects for a certain type of diner. To them it's a feature rather than a bug. An interesting perspective for sure. I have to say, when I have been there there have been fewer of the more annoying types of diners, particularly the more casual foodie type who might also be a dudebro who works in marketing.


    I don't quite understand this. How do they select for "a certain type of diner" by not taking reservations? I'm open to your point; I just don't follow the logic.
  • Post #76 - April 7th, 2014, 4:18 pm
    Post #76 - April 7th, 2014, 4:18 pm Post #76 - April 7th, 2014, 4:18 pm
    NeroW wrote:if they switched to a reservations-based system, no one would ever be able to get in.

    That sounds a lot like the famous quote by Yogi Berra: "Nobody goes there anymore. It's too crowded." :lol:
  • Post #77 - April 20th, 2014, 5:42 pm
    Post #77 - April 20th, 2014, 5:42 pm Post #77 - April 20th, 2014, 5:42 pm
    I quite enjoyed a "cha gordo" brunch on Friday. It was my most successful outing yet (as you'll see upthread I've been pretty lukewarm on their food in my past experiences). I waltzed right up to a counter seat at 12:30. There were other empty seats, as well. This seems like a perfect time to enjoy a laid back lunch, pretty accommodating for the under-employed hipster demographic :wink:

    A bottomless, well managed pot of gen maicha got me nice and fidgety in anticipation for my my food.

    First up the 10kt Dumplings

    Image

    I was warned these would be blisteringly hot and I thought that 5 minutes would be ample time for them to temper and while I didn't do any serious damage, a mouthful of screaming hot dumpling proved for some sizzling tongue jockeying. Loved the cooling slaw-esque garnish and poppy tobiko. 10 minutes proved to be a good cool down period to really enjoy these guys. One nitpick would be that the bottoms of the (otherwise lovely) skins had deteriorated a bit as the juicy filling sat.

    For my main, Fishball Lacassa

    Image

    I had another lacassa dish here at a dinner and it was a dry, curried noodle dish, not unlike Singapore noodles, which led me to believe the dish was different than similarly spelled laksa. This bowl, on the other hand, was more on par with my very novice understanding of the fabled Southeast Asian noodle soup dishes. A curried broth with a nice tamarind twang filled with some of the most structurally sound rice noodles I've ever had, + real funky fish balls, sweet shrimp, and a nice assortment of veg including okra, bok choy, and Thai eggplant. This dish would have been perfect if not for one fatal flaw, it was– to my tastes– quite under salted. I considered respecting the chef's seasoning abilities, but just knew that a good glug of fish sauce would elevate this dish to perfection. So, I asked for it and there was a bit of scuffling on my server's part. But they accommodated and I was so grateful that via the magic of salty, fermented anchovy juice, this bowl became immensely enjoyable. It made me ponder for a sec about my complaints about under seasoning in my past meals there. It seems like it would be in-line with this style of cuisine (particularly the SE Asian street food inclined elements) to serve a variety of condiments, pickles, etc. for the diners to customize their plates. They do offer ghost pepper hot sauce on every table, why not fish sauce, sambal, vinegar, and/or pickled chiles?
  • Post #78 - May 6th, 2014, 10:20 pm
    Post #78 - May 6th, 2014, 10:20 pm Post #78 - May 6th, 2014, 10:20 pm
    I love the concept of Fat Rice offering their Cha Gordo brunch not only on the weekends but also on Fridays. Last Friday I managed to slip out of the office early and meet a couple friends there. It was my first experience with the brunch menu and I really enjoyed the meal . . .

    Image
    Sour Chilli Cabbage | garlic, chilli oil
    A nice, crunchy, slightly spicy palate opener.


    Image
    Chicken Canja | curry, chilli peanut, scallion
    I loved this spin on congee because of its thicker and heartier texture, which distinguished it from most congees I've had. And it delivered a lot more flavor -- complex flavor, at that -- than most congees, too.


    Image
    Fried Egg Tofu | trumpet mushroom, scallion, maple syrup
    I loved the tofu, the scallions and the mushrooms. I can see the appeal of the maple syrup but that sweetness is not really my thing this early on in a meal.


    Image
    Boiled Pork Dumplings | Sichuan garlic oil, sweet soy sauce
    I liked these dumplings because of their slightly chewy -- and really satisfying -- texture, and their flavorful pork filling. The difference in texture between these and the more delicate steamed dumplings that followed made for a nice contrast.


    Image
    Steamed Shu Mai | bacon, cheese, burger, fancy sauce
    A lot of fun. Certainly not a set of flavors one normally finds in a steamed dumpling but it really worked.


    Image
    Steamed 10kt Dumpling | curried shrimp, jicama, tobiko
    Loved, loved, loved this decadent combination -- great flavors and textures. My favorite of the 3 dumplings currently on the menu.


    Image
    Bone-In Pork Chop Sandwich | crab chips, Chinese mustard
    3 of us split this but I felt like I could have ordered 3 more for myself. It was a relatively simple but perfectly executed dish. There's just nowhere to hide an error in a dish this simple. Great crusty bread, perfectly cooked crispy/moist pork and just a touch of Chinese mustard was a fantastic, 'less is more' combination.


    Image
    Fishball Lacassa | shrimp, tamarind broth, okra, bok choy, rice noodle
    Not only was the rich broth really delicious but the fishballs were exceptional -- super light and flavorful.


    Image
    Vegetable Lacassa | curry-coconut broth, okra, bok choy, tea egg, rice noodle, tofu puff
    The broth was aromatic with a great depth of flavor. I loved the way it worked with the tea egg and the noodles.


    Image
    Macanese Minchi | stir-fried minced pork & beef, fried egg, coconut rice, potato crouton
    One of my favorite dishes of the meal. It reminded me a little bit of one of my favorite Thai dishes: pad kraw prow. I loved the straight-ahead, savory nature of the dish and the luscious egg.


    Image
    Portuguese Egg Tart | puff pastry, custard, love, secrets
    OMG! So jiggly-licious. I loved the sweet, eggy custard and the flakey, buttery pastry. A real show stopper.


    Image
    Chinese Almond Pudding | asian pear, longan, coconut, thai basil
    Intense and refreshing. I don't remember ordering this but I also didn't see the bill so it's possible the kitchen sent it out for us.

    I also had a Gordalada, which is the house's take on a Michelada (Old Style, chilli, soy, spiced grapefruit). I really enjoyed it. Even though it leaned a bit sweet for my palate, it complemented the food really well.

    On this trip, the friends I met were fellow LTHers, so the food was well received and we all knew what we were getting into. I'd love to go back with my partners from work who are, for the most part, a lot less adventurous. It'd be interesting to see how'd they'd take to it. I for one would like to make the Cha Gordo brunch a regular stop in my rotation, so I may just have to bring them over sooner than later.

    =R=
    Why don't you take these profiteroles and put them up your shi'-ta-holes? --Jemaine & Bret

    There's a horse loose in a hospital --JM

    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain
  • Post #79 - May 13th, 2014, 4:55 pm
    Post #79 - May 13th, 2014, 4:55 pm Post #79 - May 13th, 2014, 4:55 pm
    Thanks for the write-up. Seems like a great meal, and the 10kt dumplings and Macanese Minchi in particular are calling my name.

    Not to sidetrack things in a thread that already has been sidetracked somewhat on the reservations front, but does anyone else have an issue with restaurants using old menus when plating food (as in the egg tart photo in ronnie's post above)? I can think of at least one other place that does this and, while I'm all for recycling/reusing things, it always makes me wince a little bit, thinking about the hands that might have touched that menu, the floors it might have been on, etc. Maybe they are only using menus that never made it out to service or that have otherwise been sanitized in some way (if that's even possible), but even if so the optics of it if you stop to think about it are not great.
  • Post #80 - May 13th, 2014, 5:02 pm
    Post #80 - May 13th, 2014, 5:02 pm Post #80 - May 13th, 2014, 5:02 pm
    Matt wrote:Thanks for the write-up. Seems like a great meal, and the 10kt dumplings and Macanese Minchi in particular are calling my name.

    Not to sidetrack things in a thread that already has been sidetracked somewhat on the reservations front, but does anyone else have an issue with restaurants using old menus when plating food (as in the egg tart photo in ronnie's post above)? I can think of at least one other place that does this and, while I'm all for recycling/reusing things, it always makes me wince a little bit, thinking about the hands that might have touched that menu, the floors it might have been on, etc. Maybe they are only using menus that never made it out to service or that have otherwise been sanitized in some way (if that's even possible), but even if so the optics of it if you stop to think about it are not great.

    I have always just assumed that menus used in those instances are ones that have not also been previously used by customers. Extras, misprints, outdated ones that had been printed but never given to customers. Am I being naive? :roll:

    =R=
    Why don't you take these profiteroles and put them up your shi'-ta-holes? --Jemaine & Bret

    There's a horse loose in a hospital --JM

    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain
  • Post #81 - May 13th, 2014, 5:08 pm
    Post #81 - May 13th, 2014, 5:08 pm Post #81 - May 13th, 2014, 5:08 pm
    ronnie_suburban wrote:I have always just assumed that menus used in those instances are ones that have not also been previously used by customers. Extras, misprints, outdated ones that had been printed but never given to customers. Am I being naive? :roll:

    =R=

    I don't know -- I'm not enough of a germaphobe/worrier that it's ever kept me from eating off of them, but I always wonder . . .
  • Post #82 - May 13th, 2014, 11:00 pm
    Post #82 - May 13th, 2014, 11:00 pm Post #82 - May 13th, 2014, 11:00 pm
    ronnie_suburban wrote:
    Matt wrote:Thanks for the write-up. Seems like a great meal, and the 10kt dumplings and Macanese Minchi in particular are calling my name.

    Not to sidetrack things in a thread that already has been sidetracked somewhat on the reservations front, but does anyone else have an issue with restaurants using old menus when plating food (as in the egg tart photo in ronnie's post above)? I can think of at least one other place that does this and, while I'm all for recycling/reusing things, it always makes me wince a little bit, thinking about the hands that might have touched that menu, the floors it might have been on, etc. Maybe they are only using menus that never made it out to service or that have otherwise been sanitized in some way (if that's even possible), but even if so the optics of it if you stop to think about it are not great.

    I have always just assumed that menus used in those instances are ones that have not also been previously used by customers. Extras, misprints, outdated ones that had been printed but never given to customers. Am I being naive? :roll:

    =R=


    We use test runs, misprints, etc. Not ones that have been in circulation.
  • Post #83 - May 14th, 2014, 10:52 am
    Post #83 - May 14th, 2014, 10:52 am Post #83 - May 14th, 2014, 10:52 am
    Doesn't seem street-food authentic. I want my cocktails in a cheap ziplock bag and my dinner on waste paper, thanks.
  • Post #84 - May 14th, 2014, 12:04 pm
    Post #84 - May 14th, 2014, 12:04 pm Post #84 - May 14th, 2014, 12:04 pm
    JeffB wrote:Doesn't seem street-food authentic. I want my cocktails in a cheap ziplock bag and my dinner on waste paper, thanks.


    Gotta go to Next if you want that in this city.
  • Post #85 - May 14th, 2014, 2:16 pm
    Post #85 - May 14th, 2014, 2:16 pm Post #85 - May 14th, 2014, 2:16 pm
    Went last night with a bud, we ordered a bit of food, some hits but also some misses.

    Started with sichuan eggplant, also smoky tofu & mushroom. Eggplant was stellar, I would have been happy just to eat this all night long. Smoky Tofu & mushroom was a why bother dish, didn't really taste any smoke, tofu was why tofu has a bad rap, mushrooms were fine but nothing special.

    Starter of Linguica - Linquica was fine, I'm finding I prefer it as an accent not the main (such as eggs w/linguica or some diced linguica in the mussels that I'm cooking). I far prefer the szechuan cabbage at Lao Sze Chuan compared to the cabbage with this side.

    Veggie - special yesterday of fresh asparagus w/ground pork, tiny dried fish. Asparagus were amazingly fresh & tasty. One had to really work to get all the flavors together on one's utensil but when done, a great dish.

    Balichang Tamarindo - pork belly w/pineapple & chicharrones. A good dish, not great, VERY sweet, wanted some funk.

    Meatballs w/mint - a special yesterday, one trick dish, decent but should have known better & ordered something else

    Lamb Sarapatel - another special of yesterday, a terrific dish of lamb stew accented w/a coconut curry.

    We were there by 5:25pm and already there were others waiting for restaurant to open. By 6:30pm place was packed.
    I did absolutely nothing and it was everything I thought it could be.
  • Post #86 - August 15th, 2014, 10:43 am
    Post #86 - August 15th, 2014, 10:43 am Post #86 - August 15th, 2014, 10:43 am
    To celebrate yesterday's JRW victory, although we have been avoiding it due to the no reservations policy (I saw somewhere that they are on Open Table now, but the website still says no reservations), we decided to give Fat Rice a try. Helpful in persuading us were some out of town friends that were very enthusiastic about trying it, but could not meet up until 7:30-8:00, setting up what I thought would be my worst no-reservations restaurant nightmare: a miserably long wait until un unpleasantly late dinner start (which I last endured during the early Bristol days). In preparation, I started envisioning a couple arguments for a post-outrageous waiting time audible to Analogue, which is, as most here acknowledge, awesome.

    Turns out there was no need. My wife and I got there at 7 with an eye toward getting the process rolling, and there were what looked like several available tables. The hostess, understanding our predicament, helpfully suggested that she would hold a table for us if our friends joined in a timely fashion (turned out to be at 8 rather than 7:30), which we really appreciated as a couple of other parties arrived shortly after us. We spent our limited wait time having drinks (including a great sour ale for me) and a couple appetizers (including a terrific special escabeche with mackeral and clams - one of my favorite items of the night) outside. Service was attentive and terrific outside, and even though our friends arrived on the later side of our estimate, we never felt rushed or stressed about the table.

    Dinner was very good. I loved the pickle selection (eggplant, radishes, carrot, mixed sichuan) and brandade, among the starters, although potstickers I found unremarkable other than the signature connective skin. We did do a Fat Rice, which was really enjoyable, but also something I probably won't order again just because it was so huge and you can get most of the elements from other parts of the menu. The two best dishes of the night were from the specials list: an incredibly rich spice rainbow shrimp and okra curry that we wished was the size of the fat rice dish, and amazing dry fried green beans with what I think was well-rendered chorizo abd herbs. Both were ablsolutely terrific. Everyone was stuffed, but we had a couple of desserts as well, including the rice crispy with nori, which didn't work in my humble opinion. We actually tried to order the piri piri chicken as well, but it was already 86'd - if we had received it I am not sure any of us would have been able to walk out the door. Our drink progression was all over the board but we generally appreciated the short list. Among other things, I ordered a Singapore, 1932 with dessert and really enjoyed it - not too sweet for me. And again, lovely service from our waitress.

    I am not sure that I can count on being sat straightaway on a Thursday at 7 in the future, but will definitely be returning to try. This place, if easily accessible, is a definite rotation pick given the reasonable prices and large specials menu (that I assume changes often). And, of course, Analogue is close by if things are crazy.
  • Post #87 - August 15th, 2014, 1:13 pm
    Post #87 - August 15th, 2014, 1:13 pm Post #87 - August 15th, 2014, 1:13 pm
    They've been posting on FB a lot about no wait nights. I've been recently and didn't have to wait.
  • Post #88 - September 16th, 2014, 9:32 pm
    Post #88 - September 16th, 2014, 9:32 pm Post #88 - September 16th, 2014, 9:32 pm
    https://twitter.com/aribendersky/status ... 2674606081
    "Starting Today, @EatFatRice will begin taking limited reservations at dinner and brunch! http://www.eatfatrice.com/ "

    WOhooo!!!!
  • Post #89 - February 5th, 2015, 11:44 am
    Post #89 - February 5th, 2015, 11:44 am Post #89 - February 5th, 2015, 11:44 am
    Fat Rice Grows Fatter: Lounge, Bakery & Snack Concept Coming to Existing Space

    http://chicago.eater.com/2015/2/3/79725 ... ail-lounge
    Hors D'oeuvre: A ham sandwich cut into forty pieces.
    - Jack Benny
  • Post #90 - February 6th, 2015, 11:44 am
    Post #90 - February 6th, 2015, 11:44 am Post #90 - February 6th, 2015, 11:44 am
    Went last night with Hellodali and three others. Glad of the reservations, as ours was at 5:30 but it filled up quickly even on a wintry Thursday.

    Everything was very good, and many others have pointed out some of the highlights, which include the pickled vegetables, Charlie's boiled peanuts (I could have eaten a large bowl of that!), and the simple yet delectable coconut rice. The linguiça was exceptional, spicy and rich without being fatty, and as good as what we had in Portugal last summer. Likewise the sweet and sour eggplant was delicate yet rich, which just enough spice for a kick.

    The vaca estufada (pot roast) which was full of lemongrass flavor and super tender and rich. The Malay vegetable curry was not overly sweet, and had a little spice which went well with the rice. Our favorite was clearly the po kok gai (Portuguese chicken) which was well-seasoned with curry and spice and one of the best comfort dishes I've had. The simple Portuguese red wine (from Douro) we had went very well with the food, as expected.

    The serradura (sawdust mousse) was a highlight, as it was light, creamy, toasty and salty without being heavy. Truly excellent dessert, which I might try to replicate (I'm expecting unsuccessfully) despite it being very simple.

    Abraham Conlon has a different (more complex) recipe here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RwMl8avOGFU

    I would return for the bacalhau, fat noodles, arroz gordo (of course), and more seasonal vegetable dishes, which are sure to be good. Now that you can ensure a seat, it's easier to go for some small bites.

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