Thursday, February 08, 2007

Sticky Rice
Before I move onto my backlog of Bay Area restaurants, I am going to review a few restaurants around here (Ithaca). Not too much has changed, except for a burrito place and Starbucks. Having tried a chicken burrito from "That Burrito Place," I can't say I was too impressed. The rice was clumpy, the chicken too dry, and salsa lacked soul. It did, however, knock me out for a good 3 hours or so, and I woke up lethargic and slothful. In any case, I am glad that there exists another reason for me not to consume my abysmal creations. It is also about time that a Starbucks opened in Collegetown. As much as I am a champion for small businesses, I also support enterprises that improve my quality of life. Now all we need is some sort of gourmet grocery and/or a fish monger, and I will have one less thing to complain about.

Now moving on. Sticky Rice is one of those establishments that you would never expect to have a website. Situated in a back alley adjacent to a Domino's, one would more likely expect to find shady dealings, because Ithaca is a haven for tomfoolery. The restaurant has an amazingly limited front-of-house, and mostly does take-out business.

Summer Rolls - Shredded green leaf lettuce, julienne tofu kan, sautéed bean sprouts, pickled carrots and daikon, fresh mint, scallions, cilantro and rice vermicelli noodles

These rolls were good, mostly for the reason that they tasted exactly like what you would expect. The only problem was that sauce was a bit too saccharine.

Shrimp Green Curry 10.75

The shrimp green curry was one of the better things we ordered. The shrimp was crisp and fresh, and came with an abundance of lime leaves, basil, red peppers, and onions. The curry was well-balanced and flavorful, but I felt that this dish was slightly sweeter than I preferred. I suspect it was the sweet potato, which made the curry a tad too sweet.

Khoawniew Somtum, Gai yarng / Moo yarng - A combination platter of papaya salad, and BBQ chicken, served with sticky rice.$13.75

I wasn't too fond of this entree. We were given little bits and parts of an anorexic chicken, and ended up with a combined 2.5 cubic inches of meat or less. I gave up on the literal skin and bones, and moved onto the papaya salad. The salad consisted of shredded green papaya and plum tomato halves, doused in an overwhelmingly unbalanced fish sauce that was both too sour and salty. I would have also liked some peanuts as an accent.

Red Curry sauce with Lime Leaf over Pollock (Pla Choo Chee) $12.95

This was an entree that was recommended by our server, so we were surprised when this turned out to be the worst thing we ordered that night. The marinated pollock came steamed with coconut milk in a lime leaf, served with red curry sauteed with garlic, ginger, cilantro, and onions. There were just too many flavors competing, and every flavor clashed with each other. The pollock was already flavorful and (too) savory, having been marinated in a pungent spice. The coconut milk was not a tactful pairing, and the curry just served to compound the saltiness of the entree. This dish just tasted plain confused.

Sticky Rice with Mango

This is perhaps still my favorite dish at Sticky Rice, and I have made up my mind that the place is only worth visiting for the curries and dessert. I always order the purple rice, which arrives chewier and drier than your average Thai restaurant because they steam it in the Laotian tradition. Mixed into the rice are crunchy toasted rice pieces, contributing to some interesting flavor contrast. Topped with mango, toasted sesame seeds, and sweet coconut milk, this is a comfort food that qualifies as one of my favorite desserts.

Sticky Rice
401 E State St
Ithaca, NY 14850



Blogger |suhxie| said...

what's the best place in manhattan to get purple rice? i've recently read through the entire tome of your blog and this purple rice deal seems very appetizing. advise me!

2/09/2007 9:00 AM  
Blogger Hungry Hedonist said...

Hi Suhxie, I have actually not tried any purple sticky rice in Manhattan, but I have heard that Wondee Siam on 9th does a good rendition. I've also heard good reports about Kittichai's champagne sticky rice.

2/10/2007 1:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You women shouldn't be eating rice. You know those carbs are killer. And I like my Asian women thin and FOB.


2/10/2007 7:01 PM  
Blogger serendipity said...

hello jen it's me nicole :)
i don't understand how you can take such amazing pictures of food. i think you should seriously consider being a part-time food critic ;)
hope everything's well.


2/15/2007 8:08 PM  
Blogger Hungry Hedonist said...

Hey Nikki,

hope you're doing well :)


2/15/2007 10:33 PM  
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