I have driven by this place hundreds of times going to and from work. I have eaten in most of the restaurants in this plaza but I have never gone inside Rice. I think it was mainly because the title told me nothing. I knew it was Asian food because of the Asian writing over the door but was it Chinese, Japanese, I had no idea. A friend of mine wanted to try it out and that is when I found out it is a Korean restaurant. I don’t know a lot about Korean food but was more than happy to try it out.
When you enter Rice you have two choices, you can go to the left and explore a good sized Korean market or you can go to the right which is the actual restaurant. We went on a weekday around 5:30pm and we were the only ones in the place. You can either eat in the dimly lit dining room or in the smaller but brightly lit back room where they prepare Korean BBQ. We decided to go for the BBQ which we thought would be similar to the Japanese steak house kind of thing. It is not but I think I may actually prefer the Korean way.
There were five of us and we were hungry. We started with dumpling and spring rolls for appetizers. We all agreed that the fried dumplings were delicious but the spring rolls were a little dry. However they provide you with numerous types of dipping sauces. Some were spicy,some sweet, and the peanut sauce, which was my favorite, defiantly is the key to the way they season food. Our server, Anne, was very knowledgeable and helpful to us. She explained what each thing was and also grilled our food. She was the only server and explained that when the place was crowded she would bring the meat and the customers would grill their own food. She grilled our food for us as the place was empty and we were first timers.
The circular table we were seated at had a circular grill in the middle. She brought out this carrier with hot coals, lifted the grill plate and deposited the coals. I had ordered chicken teriyaki which is not a BBQ order. It was pretty dry but well seasoned and topped with sesame seeds. My other companions ordered the BBQ. Anne told us they us what is called an LA cut because it is a little thicker. So they ordered two beef and two pork BBQ. We were astonished at the amount of food that came out. It was massive. If you ever go to Rice, two people can easily share one order. It is also a bit pricey, I believe that the cheapest BBQ was about $18.00. Anyway, once the grill was hot Anne began grilling our meats.
No salt or pepper was used but as I said earlier, the dipping sauces are what give the food the flavor. I loved the beef and the pork and seeing how the different sauces changed the taste of the meats.
We were there for about two hours before two other couples came in. I am thinking this food must be
real Korean food as we were the only non Koreans there. We were stuffed and Anne brought us take out boxes. One of my friends said she had left overs for two days. When I reheated my chicken it was even drier than before so I trashed it.
I enjoyed the food at Rice but I think had it not been for our server I probably would not go back. The BBQ was good but there was no wow factor there for me. It was just a pleasant experience that I think should be tried but the overall ambiance and price would not make this a regular spot for me. I also have this personal thing about going out to cook your own food. I go out so I don’t have to cook and if the place had been crowded I would have been cooking. I feel the same way about the Melting Pot. I think if you want a new experience Rice is worth trying out. I also feel the Rice management should brighten up the place, add signage letting people know it is a Korean place and maybe have a few specials for those of us that are new to Korean food.