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  • Post #31 - November 1st, 2013, 7:55 am
    Post #31 - November 1st, 2013, 7:55 am Post #31 - November 1st, 2013, 7:55 am
    Is it just me? I can't imagine either arriving when they open (what would that be, 5 or 6pm?) or waiting in line for 30+ minutes for Fat Rice. It's fine, but not that great IMHO....
  • Post #32 - November 1st, 2013, 8:04 am
    Post #32 - November 1st, 2013, 8:04 am Post #32 - November 1st, 2013, 8:04 am
    I went on a recent Friday and was seated right away at 6PM. The dining room was full around 7. On a Tuesday I'd say if you're there before 7 you probably won't have much of a wait.
  • Post #33 - November 1st, 2013, 9:07 am
    Post #33 - November 1st, 2013, 9:07 am Post #33 - November 1st, 2013, 9:07 am
    DutchMuse wrote:Is it just me? I can't imagine either arriving when they open (what would that be, 5 or 6pm?) or waiting in line for 30+ minutes for Fat Rice. It's fine, but not that great IMHO....


    I'd disagree, Fat Rice was worth the wait for me. It was one of my best meals for 2013, and unlike anything else I've had in Chicago. To be honest...where else in the world would one find a Portuguese/Asian/African fusion restaurant? I'm sure it must exist, I just don't know.
  • Post #34 - November 1st, 2013, 9:34 am
    Post #34 - November 1st, 2013, 9:34 am Post #34 - November 1st, 2013, 9:34 am
    bnl wrote:
    DutchMuse wrote:Is it just me? I can't imagine either arriving when they open (what would that be, 5 or 6pm?) or waiting in line for 30+ minutes for Fat Rice. It's fine, but not that great IMHO....


    I'd disagree, Fat Rice was worth the wait for me. It was one of my best meals for 2013, and unlike anything else I've had in Chicago. To be honest...where else in the world would one find a Portuguese/Asian/African fusion restaurant? I'm sure it must exist, I just don't know.


    Agreed. One of only a very small handful of places I'd voluntarily wait for. In fact, one of the few places that I've eaten at multiple times this year. As for waits, no idea since it seems to be a bit unpredictable. But the room next door is a great place to hang for a bit and I can't imagine that it would be more than 30 minutes or so on a Tuesday...
    "Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit; wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad." Miles Kington
  • Post #35 - November 1st, 2013, 10:54 am
    Post #35 - November 1st, 2013, 10:54 am Post #35 - November 1st, 2013, 10:54 am
    bnl wrote:
    DutchMuse wrote:Is it just me? I can't imagine either arriving when they open (what would that be, 5 or 6pm?) or waiting in line for 30+ minutes for Fat Rice. It's fine, but not that great IMHO....


    I'd disagree, Fat Rice was worth the wait for me. It was one of my best meals for 2013, and unlike anything else I've had in Chicago. To be honest...where else in the world would one find a Portuguese/Asian/African fusion restaurant? I'm sure it must exist, I just don't know.


    BNL, true, can't disagree there! Just different takes/tastes.
  • Post #36 - November 18th, 2013, 3:17 pm
    Post #36 - November 18th, 2013, 3:17 pm Post #36 - November 18th, 2013, 3:17 pm
    I had dinner here a couple weeks back and enjoyed it as much as ever, if not more so. It had been a few months since my last visit. I was a bit concerned about the crowd because this place has kind of blown up lately, and deservedly so. But on a rainy Tuesday evening, things were entirely manageable. They now open at 5:30 and at about 5:10 a small line formed outside the door. At 5:30 there was still plenty of availability but by maybe 5:50, the place was full and they were taking names for later seatings.

    It's really dark in there, so I doubt I'll ever get truly representative pictures but the meal was delicious and much better than it looks in these amateurish shots . . .

    Image
    Cocktail special
    I cannot remember all the details of this special but I liked the house-spiced bourbon with which it was made. Iirc, it also contained sweet vermouth. Those little black dots are basil seeds, which added an interesting texture to the beverage.


    Image
    Jamón De Jabugo De Bellota | Portuguese cheese, papaya Jam, bread
    Chef was inspired by this combination of components, which he enjoyed during a trip to Portugal earlier this year. He sent this over for me and I have to say it was great. The cheese, made from cow's milk, had a little bit of funk and was a great bridge between the lucious jamon and the sweet/tart jam.


    Image
    Charlie's Peanuts


    Image
    Braised Fava Beans with Chorizo


    Image
    Green Papaya Salad
    This was delicious -- crunchy, refreshing and funky but it was a special and I forgot to make note of the ingredients.


    Image
    Smoky Tofu & Mushroom


    Image
    Mixed Sichuan Pickle


    Image
    Potstickers | pork, shrimp, dill, black vinegar dipping sauce
    A lousy picture but those crispy, juicy units are under there. I promise. :wink:


    Image
    Salada Gordo | salada, tea egg, jamón de jabugo, marinated anchovy, etc.
    This was a very fun salad, and a new addition since my last visit. I really appreciates the thoughtful variety of flavors and textures. It was a veritable grab-bag of good stuff.


    Image
    Mapo Tofu
    I loved this take on one of my all-time Chinatown favorites. It was a special and I don't remember all the details but I'm pretty sure the the mala element was delivered via the addition of some dried beef, which was tasty and pleasantly numbing.


    Image
    Balichang Tamarindo | braised sweet & sour pork belly, tamarind, pineapple, chicharrones
    I really enjoyed the unctuous belly, and the satisfying interplay between it and the acidic elements.


    Image
    Arroz Gordo | Jasmine rice laced with sofrito, chinese sausage, salted duck and topped with portuguese chicken thighs, char sui pork, linguiça sausage, fatty prawns, clams, tea eggs, croutons, assorted pickles and sauces
    I'm not sure I can say much more about this dish, which I praised at least a couple of times upthread. I love how the vessel is placed directly on the burner to create a fantastic crust at the bottom of the rice. But hey, everything above the rice is equally wonderful.

    Fat Rice remains one of my very favorite places in town. Its distinctive fare, great ingredients and inspired preparations really speak to me. The service is phenomenal, too. It's friendly, supremely knowledgeable and enthusiastic. Next time, it won't be so long between visits.

    =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 #37 - January 1st, 2014, 1:32 pm
    Post #37 - January 1st, 2014, 1:32 pm Post #37 - January 1st, 2014, 1:32 pm
    We went to Fat Rice the day before new years eve. That's always a great time to dine out because a lot of people stay in because they know they are going out on NYE. Plus it was cold and there was some unpleasantly biting snow. I enjoyed it much more than my first visit 9 months ago. They seem to have improved their front of the house and the dishes were far more diverse than before. The crazy squid was immensely delicious, encompassing every dimension of spiciness and savoriness. Desserts which were the highlight before are still great too. We had a gingerbread rice dumpling soup that was full of gooey goodness.

    I'm still not sold on the cocktails though. Despite being laced with fernet, my "Seth Cohen" was cloying and bland.
  • Post #38 - March 6th, 2014, 6:39 pm
    Post #38 - March 6th, 2014, 6:39 pm Post #38 - March 6th, 2014, 6:39 pm
    The Splendid Table, Episode 552: Chickenization features Adrienne Lo and Abraham Conlon. There's also a recipe on the website. Long Live The Food of Macau!
    Ava-"If you get down and out, just get in the kitchen and bake a cake."- Jean Strickland

    Horto In Urbs- Falling in love with Urban Vegetable Gardening
  • Post #39 - March 7th, 2014, 9:01 am
    Post #39 - March 7th, 2014, 9:01 am Post #39 - March 7th, 2014, 9:01 am
    I had a really nice dinner at Fat Rice last night. We started with the Szechuan eggplant, mushroom and tofu, and seafood escabeche (which was a special). Next up was the Fat Noodle with XO Sauce, which I could eat every day at every meal. We also had a mackerel special that was pretty good and the Fat Rice. The Fat Rice bowl is something really special - each individual component was distinctive and flavorful.

    If you've been scared off because of the lines, maybe give it a try now: We arrived a little before 6pm (on a Thursday night) and the restaurant was pretty empty. Left around 7pm and it was full, but little or no line. They were also quite kid-friendly, easily and happily accommodating us and a separate party that had a child.
  • Post #40 - March 7th, 2014, 12:04 pm
    Post #40 - March 7th, 2014, 12:04 pm Post #40 - March 7th, 2014, 12:04 pm
    The distance, cold weather, and talk of long lines has kept me away but I really need to get down here ASAP.
  • Post #41 - March 8th, 2014, 6:17 pm
    Post #41 - March 8th, 2014, 6:17 pm Post #41 - March 8th, 2014, 6:17 pm
    Hmmmm. I've been twice now and in neither visit was I completely wowed by what I ate. I want to love it– love the design and identity, the menu concept, the warm, open room, the well curated tchotchkes, even the clandestine vibe of the newspapered over waiting room. And I love all things Chinese and Iberian influenced, so it stumps me why I find their chow to be thrown together and weirdly unbalanced. I first visited during their first month, so I gave them a pass. I liked that meal better, though– the amazing latticed matrix of the pot stickers (quite like a version at Dumpling House in Toronto) and the unapologetic burn of the chili clam with its melange of dried and pickled chiles.
    The rest of the stuff, as with my recent visit, fell into two categories: bland facsimiles of stuff I could eat for 1/2 the price in Chinatown (noodle dishes in particular) or oddly conceived things that seemed like the chefs were just free style grabbing handfuls of stuff off the line and chucking it onto the plate (the salads). A recent order of chicken piri piri, a Greek-towny bird blanketed in tomato sauce, then broiled, was inexplicably studded with hot cornichons along with more sensibly Creole olives (maybe I'm just not into hot pickles). I mean, I'm down for some jamón jabugo with my tea egg, but in certain dishes there seems to be a lack of a harmonious bridge between the ingredients, i.e. A good dressing. The pickles, especially, have been a big letdown, each one lacking something essential, whether salt or acid. Naturally innocuous wood ear mushrooms were tossed with some dried chile, but seemed not to be pickled at all. The "Sze chuan" pickle a far cry from the bracing rendition at Lao Sze Chuan. A Sze chuan style fried veggie plate visibly had the chiles and the peppercorns, which somehow had no direct influence of the overall flavor of the dish. Some things are really flavored up in a way that I haven't experienced at more genteel fine dining spots, but what I've had has been inconsistent and there always seems to be one crucial seasoning missing to help things meld, whether that be salt, or chile oil, or vinegar. Maybe they should offer those chile-d lemons with every dish.
    Two visits is hardly enough to provide an adequate set of data, so I will heed the praise on this thread and amongst my peers. I will go back, I really want to love this place. Those potstickers are reason enough. I love the idea of my favorite bold flavors of the east applied to premium quality ingredients. Unfortunately though, many of the dishes I've sampled thus far have fallen flat.
  • Post #42 - March 9th, 2014, 9:46 am
    Post #42 - March 9th, 2014, 9:46 am Post #42 - March 9th, 2014, 9:46 am
    My feelings are very similar to Jefe's above and Jefe stated it far better than I could have. I've been twice and just found no "there, there." Perfectly fine, but I was not sufficiently thrilled to go back. Plus, I didn't particularly like what I saw in the open kitchen (detailed on another post of mine about the restaurant). For me, its fairly average.
  • Post #43 - March 9th, 2014, 10:18 am
    Post #43 - March 9th, 2014, 10:18 am Post #43 - March 9th, 2014, 10:18 am
    I've been to Fat Rice, probably 8-10 times and have to disagree. It's not perfect--no restaurant is. But I love it.

    Most recently, I was able to be in the first couple of waves of brunch ("cha gordo" or "fat tea" being their given name for the meal) testers--not VIP treatment--I'm just on their mailing list from the early days of X-Marx dinners. I loved the meal. Not everything mind you. One of the noodle soups wasn't as good as the rest of the dishes. But overall, terrific. Standouts were some bizarrely delicious "cheeseburger" dumplings and the shrimp dumplings with tobiko (I'm underselling this--there were other things in the dumpling that made it rich tasting and texturally interesting but I can't remember exactly what they were and the menu isn't published yet). Probably my favorite dish was a wonderful bowl of congee that included clams and bacon that I could eat every week. And the egg custard for "dessert" was gorgeous.

    The biggest knock on the place for me is the popularity--we tried to go last night at opening and they quoted an hour and 45 minute wait. I'm not really a fan of their cocktails so killing that much time in the next-door lounge wasn't going to work. So early week day meals, preferably when the weather's bad are my usual strategy and that's just fine.

    For me, the flavors are bright, interesting and I've never felt that anything wasn't properly executed or haphazard. Some of the items that Jefe described sound different from every time I've had them (I order the pickles every time I go and absolutely adore them--never noticing any lack of salt or acid--same for the mushroom dish, which I've ordered several times). But for those who haven't been or who have visited once and didn't enjoy it, I hope you'll give it a(nother) shot. To me, this is one of a very few places where the hype is completely deserved.
    "Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit; wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad." Miles Kington
  • Post #44 - March 9th, 2014, 11:41 am
    Post #44 - March 9th, 2014, 11:41 am Post #44 - March 9th, 2014, 11:41 am
    I cam here to give a review of our dinner last night at Fat Rice, only to find that yesterday Jefe eloquently stated my exact feelings, down to similar criticisms of specific dishes. Everything was good, but nothing was excellent and certainly not worth the obscene waits. Luckily we have a friend nearby that put our names in for a table so we didn't have to wait long. It was essentially a reservation that you had to get in person, which makes you wonder why they don't do reservations.

    Anyway, so much of the food strikes me as overpriced renditions of classic Asian dishes and not even superlative versions. The balichang tamrindo is essentially soy sauce braised pork belly with the only tweak being some acid and the pork rinds on top. Any Chinese restaurant worthy of the name can make an equivalently good, if not better, version.

    Such similarities continue with potstickers and twice cooked pork and their fat noodles which are your typical ho fun noodles and not particularly tasty looking ones at that. Or even the eponymous Fat Rice which seems particularly overpriced for what is a rather tiny portion of paella for 42 dollars. We didn't order any of the above because, though I like all of the above dishes, the Fat Rice version while almost assuredly tasty sound in no way unique.

    Also I ended up a bit disappointed with the fusion aspect. The menu is rather bifurcated with Portugese dishes and Asian dishes clearly separated. Throwing some shishito peppers next to a steak does not equal fusion. The bar here is Belly Shack with stuff like their brussels sprouts with chorizo in sambal olec and fish sauce. That is fusion and extremely delicious as well.

    Finally, I want to echo Jefe in his criticism of the pickles. We love pickles and we found the three we tried extremely disappointing, particularly the sichuan.
  • Post #45 - March 9th, 2014, 12:05 pm
    Post #45 - March 9th, 2014, 12:05 pm Post #45 - March 9th, 2014, 12:05 pm
    Very nice write-up Jefe. It’s nice to see a post that starts up conversation rather than everyone singing praises in unison.

    I have been to fat rice twice now, as well. On my first visit, I had a similar experience, though I perhaps enjoyed both visits more than you did. I’m not a fan of either of the “gordos” (rice or salad). On my second visit, I insisted on ordering for our group (I had a sense that there is a right and wrong way to order), and think I did well. I skipped the arroz gordo, which I thought was a sort of train-wreck. I stuck mostly to the specials, so it would be a meal impossible to recreate, but it turned out to be one of my favorite meals of 2013. My favorite 2 dishes being the Meyer Beef "peppersteak", and the squid fried rice, dishes which we almost skipped due to the unexciting names. There was also a fish special, which I thought was outstanding, but I can't remember the type of fish, perhaps sole. The thing that stuck out to me the most was how perfectly each type of meat/seafood was cooked.

    My impression of my second visit here could be summed up as the opposite of this:
    Jefe wrote:... it stumps me why I find their chow to be thrown together and weirdly unbalanced.
    As I already stated on the GNR nomination thread, on paper some of these things sound pretty ridiculous, but what arrived was surprisingly well thought out and balanced.
    Part of the secret of a success in life is to eat what you like and let the food fight it out inside.

    -Mark Twain
  • Post #46 - March 9th, 2014, 8:51 pm
    Post #46 - March 9th, 2014, 8:51 pm Post #46 - March 9th, 2014, 8:51 pm
    Tried to go last night with a party of 5. Arrived at 5:25 and was told we'd have an hour and 45 to wait. There just isn't a restaurant in Chicago right now for which i would wait that long, so we went to Masa Azul instead. I was pretty bummed about the whole situation.
  • Post #47 - March 10th, 2014, 11:05 am
    Post #47 - March 10th, 2014, 11:05 am Post #47 - March 10th, 2014, 11:05 am
    epicFades wrote:Tried to go last night with a party of 5. Arrived at 5:25 and was told we'd have an hour and 45 to wait. There just isn't a restaurant in Chicago right now for which i would wait that long, so we went to Masa Azul instead. I was pretty bummed about the whole situation.


    Makes me miss the polar vortex, which allowed me to walk right in and get a table.

    It's interesting that some former reservation-free restaurants are changing their tune, like Ruxbin, but it took a few years of them being open to go that route. I guess as buzz dies down, reservations allow them to recruit customers that were previously deterred by unpredictability.
  • Post #48 - March 11th, 2014, 8:39 am
    Post #48 - March 11th, 2014, 8:39 am Post #48 - March 11th, 2014, 8:39 am
    epicFades wrote:Tried to go last night with a party of 5. Arrived at 5:25 and was told we'd have an hour and 45 to wait. There just isn't a restaurant in Chicago right now for which i would wait that long, so we went to Masa Azul instead. I was pretty bummed about the whole situation.


    I suspect if you had gone with 2 or 4 it might have been a shorter wait. Odd numbers are difficult. You have the same issue at Avec, or Purple Pig, where they usually only can fit odd numbers at the end of tables.

    Table seating Tetris.
    Leek

    SAVING ONE DOG may not change the world,
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  • Post #49 - March 11th, 2014, 9:33 am
    Post #49 - March 11th, 2014, 9:33 am Post #49 - March 11th, 2014, 9:33 am
    leek wrote:
    epicFades wrote:Tried to go last night with a party of 5. Arrived at 5:25 and was told we'd have an hour and 45 to wait. There just isn't a restaurant in Chicago right now for which i would wait that long, so we went to Masa Azul instead. I was pretty bummed about the whole situation.


    I suspect if you had gone with 2 or 4 it might have been a shorter wait. Odd numbers are difficult. You have the same issue at Avec, or Purple Pig, where they usually only can fit odd numbers at the end of tables.

    Table seating Tetris.

    Not so sure in this case - same exact time, a party of 4 in front of us was quoted 1:45 too.
    I find the pastrami to be the most sensual of all the salted, cured meats. (Seinfeld)

    Twitter: brbinchicago
  • Post #50 - March 11th, 2014, 9:37 am
    Post #50 - March 11th, 2014, 9:37 am Post #50 - March 11th, 2014, 9:37 am
    Newsflash: Fat Rice is busy on weekends!

    Next up, dog bites man. :lol:

    =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 #51 - March 23rd, 2014, 2:20 pm
    Post #51 - March 23rd, 2014, 2:20 pm Post #51 - March 23rd, 2014, 2:20 pm
    I visited Macau in 1995. That was long before the explosion of casinos and resort hotels happened. At that time, it was considered a day trip from Hong Kong (two hours by ferry or 45 minutes by jet-powered hydrofoil). No one actually stayed there overnight. My food memories are limited to the one meal I had at a randomly chosen restaurant (we picked poorly). Other than that, all I can recall was sitting at a blackjack table and having people seven deep in back of me betting on my bet because, being American, I was "Lucky".

    It was with that dim memory that I've been wanting to visit Fat Rice to see what I might have missed all those years ago. So far, every attempt at going has been met with a line that exceeded the threshold of how long I'd wait for a meal (or anything else, for that matter).

    I swung by Fat Rice this morning to get a picture of the outside for the upcoming GNR Awards Dinner (4/21/14 - Hold the date!). I happened to get there just after opening and found this:

    Image

    That's right. No line, and the wait was approximately zero minutes for a seat at the bar, so in I went for a impromptu solo brunch.

    The friendly bartender was nose to the grindstone the entire time I was there. Evidently hipsters needs bellinis, and lots of 'em. :wink:

    Image

    I went the tea route and ordered a pot of Emperor's Genmaicha, which had a very similar taste profile to the barley tea served in Korean restaurants, except made with toasted rice instead of barley.

    There were tons of things on the menu I was itching to try, but since I was dining solo, and probably making another stop after this, I had to be a bit selective. I started out with an order of cheese & guava toast.

    Fat Rice Cheese & Guava Toast
    Image

    I ordered this with thoughts of El Cubanito's Pan con Timba in mind. This is a completely different preparation than that. This version is served open face; much more like pizza bread. While the taste was good, the texture didn't quite work for me. The guava jelly was too loose/watery to stand up to the more substantial cheese (mozzarella, I believe). I think this would be 100% better if they used some guava paste or even some membrillo instead of the jelly. Not to worry, because this wasn't a bad dish by any means, and there are numerous other very interesting dishes on the Lil' Stuff portion of the menu.

    Next up, I ventured into the Big Stuff portion of the menu and ordered Macanese Minchi.

    Fat Rice Macanese Minchi
    Image

    Macanese Minchi consists of ground pork and beef served with coconut rice and topped with a fried egg, baby bok choi, peppers and little potato croûtons. Wow, what a great dish. Topped with some of the house ghost pepper sauce, this was an excellent breakfast! The best way I can describe it is that it's a first cousin to Korean Bi Bim Bop; more or less the same ingredients, but with a different taste profile.

    Fat Rice Diabo Sauce
    Image

    At this point, I was pretty full, but I couldn't resist ordering the Portuguese Egg Tarts on the Sweet Stuff portion of the menu.

    Fat Rice Portuguese Egg Tarts
    Image

    These beauties are served warm and were an excellent end to the meal. The egg custard was set just right and wasn't too sweet, while the pastry remained crisp and flaky. Next to the version I had at Bad Wolf, these are the best in town that I've had.

    All in all, brunch at Fat Rice was excellent. It only makes me want to get there for dinner even more.
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #52 - March 29th, 2014, 3:50 pm
    Post #52 - March 29th, 2014, 3:50 pm Post #52 - March 29th, 2014, 3:50 pm
    A friend and I were making our way to Reno for a late lunch when we decided to see if their was any wait at Fat Rice. Not only was there not a wait, but it was maybe only 1/3 full. They said they have had an early and crazy brunch rush, but that it dies down a little later (unlike dinner).

    As for what we ate:

    Cheeseburger shumai - A clever nod towards the Big Mac, but I wouldn't recommend these. They were okay, but quite dense (too dense) and most of the flavor was derived from the sauce, not the beef.

    Image
    Cheeseburger shumai



    10kt dumplings - These steamed dumplings fared much better. In fact, they were terrific - plump, delicate curried shrimp dumplings topped with crunchy, refreshing jicama and a generous dollop of tobiko.

    Image
    10kt dumplings



    Boiled pork dumplings - Unfortunately, also a little on the disappointing side, but just a little. The main problem with the dumplings is that they just weren't very flavorful. The dough might also have been a tad too thick too. Luckily, the problems were rescued by the terrific sauce in which the dumplings were served - Szechuan garlic oil with soy. You got a hint of the Szechuan peppercorn effect from the sauce, but mostly it was just delicious.

    Image
    Boiled pork dumplings



    Fried egg tofu - Another winner for me. This was really four tofu dumplings, adorned with trumpet mushrooms and chives, and sitting in lightly scented, thin maple syrup sauce. The tofu dumplings were so light and delicate, and I liked how the dumplings and mushrooms were very lightly scented with maple. I thought this was a fun twist on the concept of a traditional American brunch dish, and a pretty tasty one at that.

    Image
    Fried egg tofu



    Chinese almond pudding - Easily my favorite item, this was a take on an item you've probably encountered at many Chinese restaurants. Phoenix has always served it at dim sum. But I've never had a version this good. Delicate pieces of almond jello, a wonderful and light syrup perfumed with basil, longans, coconut, Asian pear and perhaps lemongrass. Perhaps not the most exciting dish to look at, but don't be fooled - it's terrific.

    Image
    Chinese almond pudding


    I really wanted to try the Portuguese custard tarts but they were out of them. I rounded out the meal with some terrific Oolong tea, Rare Tea Cellar of course. Overall, I enjoyed the brunch offerings at Fat Rice, but not as much as I enjoy their dinner service. Also, the dumplings are pricier than what you would experience in Chinatown, ranging from $6-10, generally for 4 dumplings. But the shrimp curry dumplings and the almond pudding are the two dishes that will probably convince me to return for brunch and try more of the menu.
    I find the pastrami to be the most sensual of all the salted, cured meats. (Seinfeld)

    Twitter: brbinchicago
  • Post #53 - March 29th, 2014, 5:42 pm
    Post #53 - March 29th, 2014, 5:42 pm Post #53 - March 29th, 2014, 5:42 pm
    http://chicago.eater.com/archives/2014/ ... t-rice.php

    How crazy do those lines get? How do they react?
    We have had lines of easily over 100 people, which is pretty scary. I remember one service in late spring or early summer: I went outside and took people's names and said "this is where it cuts off, unfortunately you will not make it in the first seating." Then walked down the line and said "alright, that's the second seating, you're now talking about a three-plus-hour wait." Surprisingly a lot of people came back. I'm happy people are committed to coming here and I hate telling people there's a wait like that.



    As much as I like some of the food here, I find their attitude about people waiting to be kind of obnoxious. It's like they are proud to inconvenience people and waste their time. They are so over-hyped that they get away with it.
  • Post #54 - March 29th, 2014, 7:08 pm
    Post #54 - March 29th, 2014, 7:08 pm Post #54 - March 29th, 2014, 7:08 pm
    I don't think it's really an attitude--they are hugely popular and their success, coupled with a determination to not become the place that you can't get a reservation, has lead to demand that, frankly, they could never have envisioned. They are truly nice people, trying to do what they love--it may not be for everyone and that's ok, isn't it?
    "Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit; wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad." Miles Kington
  • Post #55 - March 30th, 2014, 11:27 am
    Post #55 - March 30th, 2014, 11:27 am Post #55 - March 30th, 2014, 11:27 am
    I'm happy people are committed to coming here and I hate telling people there's a wait like that.

    I find their attitude about people waiting to be kind of obnoxious.


    I can't find anything obnoxious about that statement at all. They're happy people come there, they are unhappy that they have to tell people they have to wait. Where's the attitude? If you have an issue with their no reservations policy, I understand, but to say they are proud to inconvenience people is a stretch in my opinion.
    Anthony Bourdain on Barack Obama: "He's from Chicago, so he knows what good food is."
  • Post #56 - March 30th, 2014, 12:10 pm
    Post #56 - March 30th, 2014, 12:10 pm Post #56 - March 30th, 2014, 12:10 pm
    geli wrote:
    I'm happy people are committed to coming here and I hate telling people there's a wait like that.

    I find their attitude about people waiting to be kind of obnoxious.


    I can't find anything obnoxious about that statement at all. They're happy people come there, they are unhappy that they have to tell people they have to wait. Where's the attitude? If you have an issue with their no reservations policy, I understand, but to say they are proud to inconvenience people is a stretch in my opinion.


    If they are truly unhappy that people have to wait then they would chose a different system. That unhappiness seems disingenuous to me.

    They do seem like nice people, some of their food is very good, but there are dozens of ways to handle high demand and many of them are easier and kinder to customers. I hope they will see the light as Ruxbin did. Maybe it's not as fun to have reservations, but it is far more professional and respectful to customers. The truth is that people do end up waiting to come in no matter what, particularly those of us who do not have the extra time to wait. A restaurant with reservations is more accessible to most people– busy people, disabled people who can't risk trekking to other bars and restaurants in the neighborhood because the waiting room is full, etc.
  • Post #57 - March 30th, 2014, 12:36 pm
    Post #57 - March 30th, 2014, 12:36 pm Post #57 - March 30th, 2014, 12:36 pm
    There aren't many places I'd wait in a long line to get in, and Fat Rice certainly isn't one of them. :twisted:
  • Post #58 - March 30th, 2014, 1:18 pm
    Post #58 - March 30th, 2014, 1:18 pm Post #58 - March 30th, 2014, 1:18 pm
    mgmcewen wrote:
    If they are truly unhappy that people have to wait then they would chose a different system. That unhappiness seems disingenuous to me.

    They do seem like nice people, some of their food is very good, but there are dozens of ways to handle high demand and many of them are easier and kinder to customers. I hope they will see the light as Ruxbin did. Maybe it's not as fun to have reservations, but it is far more professional and respectful to customers. The truth is that people do end up waiting to come in no matter what, particularly those of us who do not have the extra time to wait. A restaurant with reservations is more accessible to most people– busy people, disabled people who can't risk trekking to other bars and restaurants in the neighborhood because the waiting room is full, etc.


    I've never felt disrespected at Fat Rice. Quite the opposite, everyone from Adrienne down is warm and inviting there.

    Do you think Ruxbin went to a reso system because they wanted to convenience people or because they reached an inflection point where they decided taking reservations would be more profitable than not? I'd bet Ruxbin hit a point where they didn't have the old line-out-the-door "problem" so they started taking resos.
  • Post #59 - March 30th, 2014, 1:40 pm
    Post #59 - March 30th, 2014, 1:40 pm Post #59 - March 30th, 2014, 1:40 pm
    mgmcewen wrote: If they are truly unhappy that people have to wait then they would chose a different system. That unhappiness seems disingenuous to me.

    They do seem like nice people, some of their food is very good, but there are dozens of ways to handle high demand and many of them are easier and kinder to customers. I hope they will see the light as Ruxbin did. Maybe it's not as fun to have reservations, but it is far more professional and respectful to customers. The truth is that people do end up waiting to come in no matter what, particularly those of us who do not have the extra time to wait. A restaurant with reservations is more accessible to most people– busy people, disabled people who can't risk trekking to other bars and restaurants in the neighborhood because the waiting room is full, etc.


    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. Coincidentally, I've shied away from Ruxbin because of the "no reservation" policy--but not because I disagree with it. I've not gone because the description of the food and experience didn't make it worth it to me. But I don't begrudge them the choice of not taking reservations if they don't want to. I didn't realize they changed that policy but I'd hazard a guess that it's because they felt the need to do so--and not because they felt bad for their customers.

    I don't think any restaurant takes reservations purely as a service to their customers--I think they use the reservation system to enable them to accurately plan for service, and, for those using services like Open Table, to market to customers. A casual restaurant like Fat Rice that is, essentially, sold out most of the time doesn't need to do either. Moreover, if Fat Rice were to take reservations for a space that small at their current level of popularity, people would be complaining that they can't get a reservation. Same for tickets, which people seem to dislike even more than "no reservations."

    There are times when you can get in without a wait. Their current popularity means that those times are few. I don't think they are being unkind or thoughtless or disrespectful to their customers. I think they are successful. Arguably, they are more approachable because anyone can go on any given evening if they are willing to a) be spontaneous when they tweet that there's no wait, b) go at slower times (early and late on Wed/Thurs nights, Friday lunch and later on Sat/Sun/ lunch and any time the weather is crappy seem to be pretty good bets) or c) wait for some amount of time in the lounge or at Masa Azul or go do something else for a while. As mentioned in the article, the one concession that would be nice for them to make would be to call people to let them know when their table is coming available but, again, with such a small space and limited staff, not sure that would work very well.

    I think it's pretty simple--if you like their food, you'll find the times and situations when it makes sense to go. I would hate to think that all restaurants were required to provide the same accessibility and experience to everyone--that would be incredibly boring. Bottom line--there are plenty of places you can go if you are planning a night out and don't want the challenges that Fat Rice might present. To me, it's kind of silly to criticize them for doing what they want to do, as if there were no other options if it doesn't suit you.
    "Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit; wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad." Miles Kington
  • Post #60 - March 30th, 2014, 1:52 pm
    Post #60 - March 30th, 2014, 1:52 pm Post #60 - March 30th, 2014, 1:52 pm
    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.

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