Fat Rice, Chicago

Though we’d heard great things about Fat Rice (and though we, embarrassingly, live maybe 2 blocks away)… we hadn’t made the trek over to try it out. That all changed on Friday, when Lisa came to visit and we planned to meet there for dinner.

On arriving around 6:30, we found ourselves with an hour wait. The current dining area is pretty small, so there wasn’t much room to linger. But as a plus, we were told about a smaller waiting room just down the street (three doors down, and the windows were covered in old, Chinese newspapers).

Hearing there was a waiting area was lovely surprise, and on walking in we found ourselves in a dark, speakeasy-ish kind of room. Other patrons were sitting and milling about, sipping drinks and nibbling on appetizers. Liz, Lisa, and I ordered some drinks and chatted for a while.

The seating for us was at a kind of communal table, so it was cozy but not uncomfortable. At our table we had other parties to our left and right, but it never felt like we were overly crowded, despite the tight fit.

A lot of the items on the menu were meant for sharing, and so we ordered accordingly. In total, we got two appetizers to share, and each of us got an entrée.

Potstickers and an order of bao. The potstickers came upside down, and essentially fused together at the base. Though they were a little greasy, they were the good kind of greasy – and the soy sauce was deliciously perfect. The bao we had was a mixture of foie gras and sage, and I have to say… it was the most delicious thing. The flavor seemed to curve upwards towards tasting sweet, but turned back at the last minute. The bao was probably my favorite item from the whole evening.

My main dish was the Crazy Squid Rice. Not sure how to describe it other than it was mildly spicy, and had a surprising mixture of nuts integrated with it. Nothing overpowering, but a nice/sweet addition.

I guess the presence of nuts in the dish shouldn’t be all that surprising, given that Fat Rice’s general owner, Adrienne Lo, is also behind Mama’s Nuts in Chicago.

Liz got an order of Malay Vegetable Curry, and Lisa got another noodle curry dish (which had a lot of BBQ pork in it). Both were very good, though I think everyone preferred the noodle over the vegetable curry.

The portions weren’t huge, but they weren’t tapas-sized either. Liz and I found ourselves surprisingly full, and felt increasingly fuller as the night went on. The staff paced out our dishes well, and it was a fun night of catching up and sharing dishes with one another.

It’s sad that we’ll be leaving Logan Square soon, but I’m glad we got to try out Fat Rice before we left. I have a hunch we’ll be back here, before we officially go. I’d be very curious to bring my parents here, to see how they’d like the various dishes.

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