Today I adventured out to the 115 Lexington location of Rice, in Murray Hill (28th street subway stop on the 6). It's a comfortable little spot that manages to look modern and spacious, while retaining a cozy traditional Asian feel. It has soft seating, paper lanterns, and the occasional bag of rice making its acquaintance with the chopsticks at the table it so hiply decorates.
In the background, Beatles music played, enhancing the calm atmosphere and making me feel quite happy. My waiter was also pretty cute, something that never hurts. :P
I didn't see any signage indicating a gluten free menu, but all I had to do was ask, and I was handed this awesome little book:
Terrific! I eagerly opened it up.
Listed were appetizers, two soups, several "classic" dishes, and some specials, as well as 10 different kinds of rice that one can order alongside your main dish. These included basmati, brown, thai black, and Japanese, as well as "special" rices like Lebanese, green, and rice with peas. There were also sides available, like edamame.
I had a VERY difficult time in choosing my meal. It all sounded so good. To begin, I ordered the Mexican Chicken soup. For an entree, I decided to go with a small order of Ratatouille, which came with my choice of rice. I went with the thai black rice.
It was quite good. The broth only twinged with spice, and all of the vegetables in it were very fresh. At the bottom of the unusually clear broth were rice and corn. Tomato and avocado floated on top, along with some cilantro. The chicken was most excellent, and avocados happen to be one of my favorite foods. All of the ingredients blended together perfectly, and no one flavor exceeded the others. It was simple, fresh, and delicious, like the best recipes often are.
Next came the Ratatouille and thai black rice.
The Ratatouille consisted of zucchini, eggplant, red peppers, and onions, cooked together into a stew with tomato-like sauce. The taste and texture of the vegetable were a bit jarring to me at first, but I grew to appreciate the distinct flavors of each vegetable. The sauce was a little bit overpowering, but not to a terrible extent.
The rice was the best part of this dish. It was thick, sticky, and slightly sweet, with a soft taste of coconut. I couldn't stop eating it. It was gone too soon.
I finished this lovely meal with a pot of green gen mai cha tea at the adorable server's suggestion.
It came in this cute little white pot, and with four different kinds of raw honey with which to flavor the tea. I didn't take down the different types of honey there were, but I remember that one was something along the lines of "organic desert flower". It was fun being able to blend the tea to my own sweetness, and to feel like a scientist doing taste experiments with the honey in these chemistry-like vials.
All in all, this was a very easy and enjoyable GF meal, and was not very expensive to boot. There were plenty of options to choose from, and I really appreciated the separate, solely GF menu.
I'm really looking forward to coming here again and trying more of the dishes. The (dessert!) thai banana leaf wraps are calling my name. Seriously. I hear them.