One thing about reviewing restaurants is I often find myself no longer stopping at places I had once visited. The algorithms constantly demand new and fresh material, and so places, such as Rice Bowl, on Sargent become places I used to visit.
However, recently I decided I wanted to visit there again after a few years absence. Unfortunately, although I’ve paid three visits over the last couple of weeks or so, my camera acted up and I only have two photos total to show for three visits.
Rice Bowl is a unprepossessing little building. Stepping inside, the decor is also very basic. However, there are plenty of seats, and on all three visits, I had no trouble finding a place to sit.
Vietnamese at Rice Bowl
Rice Bowl advertises itself as Filipino, Vietnamese, and Chinese dining. On my first visit, I ordered a couple of Veggie Spring Rolls and the Deluxe Pho. The spring rolls are quite nice, and the Pho had a richer broth than many I’ve tried. On the whole it was a quite pleasant lunch, but nothing overly remarkable.
Two Filipino Meals:
The next two visits I paid, I ordered Filipino dishes. Other than the egg rolls, I didn’t attempt any of the Chinese dishes. On my second visit I ordered the Caldereta(beef stew), again with egg rolls. The Caldereta was a delight. The beef came in four large chunks. I hadn’t received a knife with my cutlery, but didn’t need one as the beef was fork tender and came away easily in bite size portions.
The gravy was rich, and there was a good mixture of well cooked vegetables. The only slight disappointment was that on this occasion the Veggie Spring Rolls weren’t hot 100% of the way through.
My third trip, I chose the Lumpia Shanghai for a starter. These came in a large portion with the typical sweet chili sauce for dipping. The Lumpia were good and crispy with a good, savoury filling.
For my main I ordered the Vietnamese Ribs found on the menu. I learned after ordering that the Vietnamese Ribs are on the menu in name only and are not being offered anymore. I took the menu back and after giving it a desultory look over, I decided to take my server’s advice and order the BBQ Beef Ribs as well.
I don’t know what the Vietnamese Ribs are supposed to taste like, but I can’t imagine them being any better than the BBQ Beef RIbs. The beef itself is cooked extremely well, and the char mixed with the sweet sauce gives the ribs a great flavour balance. There were lots of little ribs on the plate, which helped to slow down my eating process.
The ribs are served on rice with stir-fried vegetables. The vegetables were cooked tender-crisp, and came in a great variety. In a rare case for such a stir-fry the carrots were in the minority with plenty of broccoli, peppers, and ever a bit of cauliflower in the mix.
It was a good thing I was eating late in the afternoon after not having much to eat during the day. My two item order could easily have fed two people.
One thing I’d like to see is a better drink selection. Despite advertising Vietnamese as one of their cuisines, there is no Vietnamese Coffee on the menu, The beverages seemed limited to canned pop and Jasmine/Green tea.
Service here is very good. The staff is not only prompt, but they are friendly and enthusiastic in their service. I’d suggest trying the Filipino section of the menu first, you can’t go wrong with that. I’m definitely going to be finding my way back to RIce Bowl, at least when I’m not feeding the algorithms.