Update: Cha Gordo (Fat Tea) – This is where you need to go for brunch!
Fat Rice is the restaurant everyone and their mother has been talking about recently. I wanted to see for myself if this number four rated best restaurant in America 2013 (according to Bon Appetit) lived up to the hype. Waiting for an hour for a table can be a pain but the set up at Fat Rice makes it bearable (does anyone take reservations anymore?). Meaning there is a dedicated server for the people waiting in the outside seating that will promptly feed you drinks.
The menu is based on food from Macau serving “Euro-Asian comfort food.” What that means is a mix of great flavors with roots from Portugal, Asia, Indiaa whole lot of lemongrass, garlic, sauces, curry, sausage, vegetables, noodles and seafood.
I started with the Kalimotxo, described as “sangria-like” with Luberri Rioja “Biga”, coca-cola and lemon. It was a tasty twist on sangria and the cola actually works with it.
The dining room is fairly small and lends to a very homey and comfortable setting. The seat to have is at the bar and we were lucky to snag it. Perched right in front of the kitchen you have a front row to a cooking show. I thought seeing the dishes would help me decide what to order but everything looked so good that plan backfired. Luckily the service at Fat Rice is stellar at helping you decide what to order. Our server walked us through everything and gave her personal favorites. When we still unable to decide chef/owner Abraham Conlon came over and gave us his advice.
Nibbles were served up while we waited for our meal including the mixed Sichuan pickle.
Since we were only two we did not go for the pièce de résistance the Arroz Gordo (Fat Rice) as it feeds more than two and wouldn’t leave room for anything else. Definitely getting this next time when I’m there with more people.
The presentation of the pot stickers is different, served whole and looks like a savory pancake. Perfectly cooked, crispy, light and airy. Best pot stickers I have had in awhile. The fermented vinegar sauce with garlic, scallions and house made hot sauce was ridiculous! Get this.
The decor looks like a mix of tasteful souvenirs a well traveled jet setter has collected and put in their open concept kitchen/dining area.
The favorite of the night was the daily special of shrimp and sweet corn stir fry, shishito pepper, salted duck yolk and ground cherry with an order of coconut rice. Very fresh dish with hint of richness from the duck yolk and layer of spice with the pepper.
Malay vegetable curry with long beans, okra, cabbage, thai eggplant, purple sweet potato and tofu puffs. I would recommend this dish for vegetarians that need to skip the Fat Rice dish. So many flavors even a meat eater doesn’t miss the carne.
We were too full for dessert but I would have definitely tried the pineapple upside down cake. I mentioned that if they sold the sauce served with the pot stickers I would buy it. Chef Abraham came right over and offered to mix us some to go to enjoy at home with our leftover pot stickers. He was a real pleasure to talk to and it was really interesting hearing about his roots and journey through the world that has brought him to today. Many may know him from his X-marx days where he put on underground inventive underground dinner. His obvious passion and respect for food and his customers coupled with his open and welcoming demeanor have me rooting for this place.
More cool artwork: