Sticky Rice: On an Early Roll
Sticky Rice, the newest hipster haven on the H Street strip, opened last week to much well-deserved fanfare. The two-story restaurant and bar serves noodle dishes, tater tots and a staggering array of sushi in a edgy-cool atmosphere with accents like exposed brick and sexy red walls.
I stuck to sushi on a recent visit and was met with delicious forearm-sized rolls stuffed to the brim with fresh ingredients.
Big bites of cilantro cooled the spicy Chili Roll and soft avocado and cream cheese surrounded crunchy shrimp in the Godzirra Roll. My date and I were fighting over the last morsel of Sticky Balls, a roll of tuna, crab and rice that has been deep-fried and topped with creamy wasabi dressing and eel sauce.
Beyond sushi, a starter of rare, seared tuna was so fresh, it nearly melted off my chopsticks. Fried dumplings, larger than those sold at many Asian restaurants, added a snappy crunch.
The rolls are inventive and flavorful, but the sushi could have been rolled much tighter. Sushi-toting chopsticks always face a precarious journey from plate to mouth, but at Sticky Rice, be prepared to jam each slice up there -- or it could end up in your lap. As you might expect from a new restaurant that's already super busy, service was hit or miss. When I was there, some friends were seated at a different table nearby. Even though they were seated before us, they were only digging into their second dish while I was paying my check.
The Richmond locations are known for catering to vegetarians, and that spirit survived the trip north. Many of the starters are veggie- or vegan-friendly, and the restaurant offers a vegan/vegetarian section of its sushi menu. To clear up a debate from yesterday's Got Plans?, the restaurant offers a vegan alternative to eel sauce -- called Jin Gold F-3 -- which doesn't contain any mention of eel in the ingredient list. The bottle's label lists water, soybean, wheat, salt, licorice extract, soy sauce and a handful of chemical-y products like high-fructose corn syrup; ask to see it if you're curious.
Sticky Rice celebrates its official opening tonight with the Virgins spinning a DJ set from 11 p.m. until 3 a.m. The events keep coming out of this venue -- karaoke kicks off on Tuesday.
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