Sticky Rice

Last weekend, my boyfriend Teddy came to visit me in DC!  He stayed for six nights, which meant we had six opportunities to go out and find the most amazing food the city had to offer. I’m so lucky that he’s always up for a food adventure, as long as we’re eating good food. We’ve been planning his visit for a while, so we already had an extensive list of restaurants we wanted to try.

The only problem we had was narrowing that list down. We scoured the Internet for hours trying to find the best of the best, but finally gave up. The DC metro area has over 2,300 restaurants and we had no idea where to start. So, I turned to the two people who would know best –Sondra and my Uncle Gary. My requirements (Japanese, Greek, Mexican, and Indian) were a little all over the place, but I knew my restaurant experts would know where to go. 

After a ton of back and forth, we finally decided on our list of DC restaurants: Brixton (a brand-new upscale British pub on U Street), Lauriol Plaza (repeat offender alert!), Sticky Rice (sushi on H Street), Rasika (the top-rated Indian restaurant in the District), and Yama’s Mediterranean Grill (Greek in Bethesda-read it here).  

Since the weather wasn’t too great on Saturday, we checked out the indoor botanical gardens down by the Capitol. We worked up an appetite wandering through the crazy jungle vines and cactuses, so we headed over to a sushi restaurant on H Street called Sticky Rice.

H Street is DC’s new “up and coming” neighborhood, which is really code for “you probably don’t want to be walking around by yourself at night.” I won’t lie –the area surrounding the restaurant is pretty rough. But we knew Sondra wouldn’t steer us wrong, so we took a chance.

As soon as we walked into the restaurant, we felt a great vibe. Sticky Rice is a restaurant that never takes itself too seriously. The first floor is a bar area, with dinner seating upstairs. There was nothing traditionally Japanese about the funky wall decorations or the unique light fixtures. The servers have sleeves of tattoos and handlebar mustaches and leave you to your own devices as you decide which inventive sushi dishes you want to try. Teddy and I both love sushi (and eel sauce), so we were in heaven.

We started with the Avocado Tempura (cream cheese, cucumbers, avocado, and spicy sauce drizzled with ponzu and scallions) and the Goochland (smoked salmon, goat cheese, and scallions).

The Avocado Tempura was like heaven on earth. The creamy avocado was coated in crispy tempura, and the two textures were the perfect complement to eachother. And as soon as we read “goat cheese,” we were sold on the Goochland. We dug in so fast that I almost didn’t get a picture! I only realized I needed to take one after we had devoured three-quarters of the plate!

For our main course, we got:

The Philly Roll 
(an inside-out roll with smoked salmon, cream cheese, and scallions)

Teddy and I would eat bagels with cream cheese and lox everyday if we could. Sometimes, we even eat cream cheese straight out of the container, so ordering the Philly Roll wasn’t even a question.

(large crunchy shrimp, avocado, cream cheese, spicy sauce, and cucumbers with tempura crunchies and tobiko)

I don’t even know where to start with this dish, except to say that it was truly the star of the evening. The week before Teddy’s visit, Sondra went to Sticky Rice and ordered this roll. When I asked her what we should order, all she could say was “The Godzirra.”  It was one of Sticky Rice’s “Monster Maki” rolls and was filled with deep-fried, crunchy shrimp and creamy avocado and cream cheese. It replicated the textures of the avocado tempura, but took the flavors to a new level with complex and spicy sauces. Rich, decedent, and delicious.

Chilli Roll 
(tuna, cilantro, cucumber, jalapeno & grilled pineapple with tempura crunchies and tobiko)

The Godzirra Roll was a tough act to follow and unfortunately the Chilli Roll did not pull through. In comparison, it was bland and the flavors just didn’t come together as nicely. We were both disappointed, but agreed that we couldn’t have eaten another heavy dish like the Godzirra. I can’t even remember too much about the way it tasted, because it was just that unmemorable! 

Five plates, three containers of eel sauce, and one beer later, we were two happy campers. Teddy and I both agreed that Sticky Rice had the best sushi we had ever eaten and that we’ll be stopping by next time we’re both in DC.

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