An Early Look at Sticky Rice

Courtesy of Sticky Rice.

For this former Richmonder, walking into the Atlas District’s latest coup—an outpost of Richmond’s quirky Asian-fusion eatery, Sticky Rice—was like going home. When the door closed behind me, the often cold, sleek restaurants of DC seemed far away, and I was back in a place where daring colors and funky artwork are the standard. Red walls, paper lanterns, exposed brick, and the pagoda-like bar all serve to invoke the uniquely Richmond vibe—as do the servers and clients who sport tattoo sleeves, punk-rock haircuts, and arty clothes.

All this is to say that I really, really wanted to love the place. But when only two of the six things a friend and I ordered made it to the table after three hours, three beers, and three pleas to the bartender and the manager, our dinner situation had clearly gone south. And not to Richmond.

I would love to tell you about the food, but I can only speak to the sushi roll we ordered—since the sushi bar actually seemed to be on top of things—and the bucket of tater tots, both of which made it to the table while we still were under the impression that we were going to have a normal dinner. The Godzirra roll ($10) although a tad over-filled with crunchy shrimp, avocado, cream cheese, spicy sauce, cucumbers, tempura bits, and ruby-red tobiko, was enjoyable. And the bucket of tater tots ($6) with its slightly spicy, mayo-based sauce was quite tasty.

Unfortunately, the same can’t be said for anything else we got. Three other fairly inedible dishes eventually arrived, so we decided to give up, pay the check and leave … hungry. But since this place had only been open a week or so, and because the management did everything it could to make amends for the kitchen’s mistakes—in the form of understanding words and taking subpar dishes off the check —it hardly seems fair to pan the food until this place gets on its feet. In the meantime, go for the fun atmosphere and order the sushi rolls. Use the black phone in the bathroom to crank call whomever is in the other bathroom. And enjoy a bucket of tots.

Sticky Rice, 1224 H St., NE; 202-397-7655; Open Sunday through Thursday, 5 PM to 2 AM; Friday and Saturday, 5 PM to 3 AM.

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