Dinner this evening was at Rice, described as eclectic international... In the Murray Hill neighborhood of NYC. Did I mention I was in NYC? Staying with an old friend from grad school for a quick 24-hr visit. Very fun.. Details to follow (on food & fun)!
UPDATE: So at Rice I ordered the asian slaw as a salad and Thai Coconut Curry with Chicken and thai black rice.
The asian salad was incredible! The menu described it as "mayonnaise free, shredded cabbage and carrots, with sautéed arame seaweed, toasted sesame seeds, lotus roots and asian carrot ginger dressing." I ate through the entire thing before I stopped and wondered whether the seaweed was really in there. I like most seaweed, but usually it has a really distinct taste that I did not encounter in this dish. I have always loved the carrot-ginger dressing served in most japanese restaurants, but this one made me want to come right home and recreate it immediately.
For the entree - the black rice was described as "sticky, black skinned grain with white flesh, rich distinctive flavor, steamed in coconut milk." I paused while ordering, wondering if a black rice could really be sticky, but since I have never had black rice outside of wild rice mixes, I was going to have to trust the folks at the place called Rice. I was disappointed to find that it indeed was not sticky, nor did it taste like it had been steamed in coconut milk. Bummer all around. I also felt like the curry was not so coconut curry tasting; it tasted like it could have come from a Lean Cuisine called "thai inspired chicken." Don't get me wrong - it didn't taste bad, it just was disappointing... and made me realize that I shouldn't have such high expectations for a restaurant which serves dishes from so many different ethnicities.
On top of that, it was very cheap. Just $18 (including tax and tip) for my meal. In looking up the menu descriptions I found that this is just one of four locations in the NY area. So - I guess not too bad for a chain! And they run their delivery vehicle on filtered Waste Vegetable Oil from their kitchens, so bonus points for sustainability.
My friend Rachel and I spent the rest of the night catching up and walking around the city, stopping every once in awhile for people watching. We also got the famed Pinkberry; I tried the new coconut flavor with no toppings - which made up for the lack of coconut in my dinner. Just delicious! Also can't wait to re-create this at home.