Last night was a night out for dinner. After reading the transcripts of the live chat on Washington Post.com this week, ASK TOM and reading a review, we decided to try RICE.
Go! Go out of your way! It's really worth it. I dare say....the best Thai food I've had. Seriously. Now, that's not to say I'm an aficionado of Thai restaurants, but of the ones I've had, this is the top.
For drinks, I had a glass of white wine, Gruner Vetliner Gmork, 2003 by Anton Bauer of Austria. It was alright. It was a bit flat, ordinary. But not bad, dry. Then I saw the cocktails. I had to try the Kaffir Lime Martini. YUMMY! Just the right sweet, just the right lime. Grrrr!
I got to try one of their appetizers, Pumpkin Empanadas, Rice Style. A sort of pumpkin curry puree in puff pastry with a sort of sweet and sour dipping sauce. Really tasty!!! The pastry was just the right about of flaky and the pumpkin puree was just right, not sweet, but sort of smoky from the curry, just barely mild in heat.
My entree, I followed the review recommendations and had Chicken Cashew. Ok, so I've made a Cashew Chicken and many of us on this blog have tried the recipe. It's really good. This was sublime! Chicken, onions, dried cayenne peppers and the sauce. Perfect. Beautifully served and on a second plate, green long grain sticky rice with a hint of coconut. Now, the waiter said the color comes from the flavoring. I saw blue rice, mine was green, there was another I saw that was orange. It was gorgeous. Formed into this oblong shell shaped and garnished with some black sesame seeds, parsley and a crinkly cut carrot. I wanted to eat the rice alone, but would, every few bits have some with the chicken, very tasty.
The sticky rice @ RICE
Jason had red snapper with some stuff on it. Again, a sort of sweet and sour sauce, but not the red syrup used on chicken at Chinese places. A refined, classy sauce. Claudine, Jason's cousin, and a vegetarian, had the vegetarian pad thai. It comes in a very thin omlette. She loved it, Jason tried it and really liked it as well.
The service was attentive and respectful. They were there when needed and gone when they weren't.
The menu is brief. Sorted into three columns. One is the specialties of the house, heavily influenced by the trends in Thailand. One is the traditional Thai, but in the kicked up classic sense, the dishes you'd get at any Thai restaurant, but better. The third column is the "green" menu, with the focus on vegetables, but not necessarily vegetarian. There was also a special menu, the Flower Menu? I can't remember the full name, but these are the more exotic specialty items. We didn't try any of these, but they did sound delicious. The entrees were around $12-15. Wine and drinks, about $7 to $10. There were two beers, more wine than the review said, so that might have changed.
The restaurant is very clean and modern. We sat at the window so there was plenty of light, but it seemed that back a bit, towards the bar, was darker. The tables were simple adorned with candles and single orchid flowers in bud vases. It's funny because the last time I was there, in the space, it was a ghetto pizza place. 100% different.
I'm very happy with this place and highly recommend it!
Rice Restaurnt & Bar
1608 14th Street NW
Washington DC 20009
PS: the online menu, does not have a current wine list. There were close to 10 reds and 10 whites while there last night. Online has about three of each.