Mar 27, 2007

Appetizer Cravings

Craving Sticky Rice. In this new feature of Dishin’ Dat, I’ll describe some of my favorite appetizers in my regular eating haunts around town.

These days I no longer eat a full meal when I go out, which is 4 or 5 times per week. Dinner portions are too filling, and I find myself waddling from the table if I manage to finish my plate. When I order a full meal, I usually bring home a doggie bag. However, expensive food seldom tastes good after it’s been sitting in a fridge and reheated in a microwave, so I’ve gotten in the habit of ordering appetizers instead.

My favorite appetizer restaurant of the moment is Sticky Rice on Main Street.

Dahlings, the Sushi Chefs in this place are anything but Japanese. Half of them look like they graduated from some northeastern art or medical school. I sit in my favorite spot in the corner (see photo on left) watching the chefs prepare sushi, the traffic whiz by on Main Street, and the regulars walk through the door. My appetizer of choice?

Sticky Balls! (Get your minds out of the gutter.)

I crave them. In fact I want them so much, that I have stopped by this place after work five times in the past two weeks. Each Sushi chef puts his own plating spin on his Sticky Balls (yes, they are all men), and here are the reasons I like them: Mildly hot taste, scrumptious flavor, subtle smell, Japanese influenced plating, & the sound and sensation of a deeply satisfying crunch.

Sticky balls are comprised of tuna, crab, and sriracha rice in an inari (bean curd) pocket, deep fried, and topped with scallions, wasabi, and eel sauce. Yum. YUM.

Oh, dahlings, I am salivating just thinking about them!

My Richmond friends are torn about this restaurant. They either adore it or hate it Here are a few comments from the Sushi World Guide that sum up our differing opinions.

"One of my favorite sushi restaurants in the US, by far, in terms of creativity and taste. This is only the second place I've ever been to that actually uses fresh crab in their California rolls. The atmosphere is a little smokey and dark, but I think this is part of its charm. They have some great rolls, as well as other Pan Asian cuisine on their menus. "

"If you like a smoky atomosphere and rowdy drunks, then this is the place you want. The food was substandard, wait staff s-u-c-k-s, and all in all an unpleasant experience for me and my wife. It is a place for those who don't like to taste their food or hear themselves think during a 'dining ' experience. Judge for yourself and be afraid! "

"This restaurant is charming and epitomizes the 'charm' of Richmond; it is creative and often humorously boisterous in the late evening hours. The food is creative and can easily please even the non-sushi lovers, but the staff brings down the atmosphere. On several occasions with several different servers, the servers were condescending to a customer who was not familiar with sushi, and extremely rude and curt. If the staff was nicer, this would be a fun place to hang out for a young crowd, but I wouldn't bother unless you happen to know the staff personally. "

"The service is horrible, and the fish was fishy! Save your time and money. Go somewhere else. "

Dahlings, I must make a comment to the above. Ms. Place has never been treated with anything other than civility at Sticky Rice, due, no doubt, to her generous tips and fabulous smiles. If she's ignored, she starts to bellow like Vicki in the Housewives of Orange County. That gets most of the waitstaff moving.

Correction: Last night I returned to Sticky Rice to discover a female sushi chef! So I stand corrected. Not all Sticky Rice sushi chefs are male.

1 comment:

jinxy said...

You would talk about sushi when I've been craving decent sushi for 3 months. There just isn't any where I live. I'm going to have to drive to Atlanta for decent sushi...

Almost all of the places around here serve it just a degree or two too warm, and it tastes fishy. But I still want me some sushi.

That was one of the things that probably sucked THE MOST about being pregnant, no sushi. I understand that eating raw fish when you have a baby inside you is reckless and irresponsible, but I can promise you that a loaded gun hasn't got a thing on a hormonally loaded 7-month pregnant woman who can't eat the one thing she is craving more than anything else.

Thank GOD I won't be doing that anymore :)