Cari Taylor-Carlson
Dining

Rice N Roll Is A Great Show

You can watch the chefs at work. The results are pretty tasty.

By - May 9th, 2017 03:41 pm
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Rice N Roll. Photo by Cari Taylor-Carlson.

Rice N Roll. Photo by Cari Taylor-Carlson.

Rice N Roll, tucked into the corner of Irving and Farwell, next to Custom Tattoo, felt like a lucky find on a morning walk. It’s part of what I think of as Asian Row where adventuresome eaters can choose from Stone Bowl Grill (Korean), Pho 43 (Vietnamese), EE-Sane (Thai), Jou Nai Fouguet (Thai), and Rice n Roll where they serve a fusion of sushi and Thai.

Everything a companion and I sampled was pretty — aesthetically pleasing — especially the Two Nations Lunch Special. “This is art on the plate,” my companion noted as she gazed at her box of goodies. The box, sectioned into quarters, one for sushi, one for nicely flavored jasmine rice, one for eight California rolls, yes eight rolls, and one for the entrée,  Chicken Teriyaki. A small cut-out in the center held sweet and sour sauce, and hiding underneath the sushi, shaved ginger and wasabi. This toolbox of delights provided a party for the eyes as well as the palate.

Two Nations Lunch Special. Photo by Cari Taylor-Carlson.

Two Nations Lunch Special. Photo by Cari Taylor-Carlson.

For the price, $10.95, there was enough for a hearty diner and for a light eater, a second chance at home. This feast of complementary flavors, textures, and colors, matched the name of the dish, Two Nations.

In the teriyaki quarter, a large portion of moist chicken camouflaged a pile of crisp carrot slices, broccoli flowers, green beans, and kale, all influenced by the flavors of the marinade.

The sushi (raw fish) was salmon, draped over vinegar-scented cold rice enhanced by the addition of shaved ginger and a micro-drop of wasabi. It tasted absolutely fresh as it should be. One of the three sushi chefs told us they get deliveries on Tuesdays which explained why I saw him break down a large salmon. He sliced and divided, then, with a grin, removed the backbone in one long swipe. He made it look easy.

The California Rolls — avocado, crab, seaweed, and sticky rice — were lovely bites which needed sauce to bring out some excitement in the photo-ready but bland rolls.

In addition to the Teriyaki Chicken, other entrée choices for Two Nations included Fried Rice, Pad Thai, Chicken Satay, Shrimp, and Mixed Vegetable Tempura.

Pad See Eiw was my choice of an entrée from the $8.95 Thai Lunch Special. This special included two egg rolls, pot stickers, or green salad, plus Tom Yum soup or Miso soup, followed by the entrée, and made another binge for the price. I picked the egg rolls, which were crisp, deep-fried but again bland, even after a generous swipe through the sweet and sour sauce. But the Tom Yum soup, a potent, hot, spicy, sour soup left behind a burn that lingered through the rest of the meal. It was good heat, the sort that left the taste buds screaming “Yes” while they quivered from the burn. Unlike the miso soup, which was served lukewarm, the Tom Yum came to the table boiling hot.

I had noticed little red chilis next to a few entrées on the menu. After experiencing the heat in the Tom Yum, with nary a chili to warn me, I decided when I return, and I plan to, I will treat those little warnings with great respect.

My entrée, Pad See Eiw, was fat noodles in brown sauce with broccoli and chicken, and needed something to up its unremarkable flavor. After a few squirts of soy sauce it came to life, the flavors intensified by the salt in the soy.

Because the menu at Rice N Roll promised to deliver what looked like an overwhelming number of dishes, we wondered how that could be accomplished, until we watched three chefs at work: calm, exact, precise, in every movement. Their presence left no doubt that almost everything on the menu will be made to order. It’s also entertainment for the customers.

Rice N Roll serves 15 sakes including a House Sake available warm or chilled, Black Super Premium Sake ($20.00), Plum wine, and wine by the glass or the bottle. On Mondays and Tuesdays from 4:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. all the rolls are half-price and on Wednesdays, they offer half-price drinks.

As we left we noticed another beauty, fried rice piled on top of a half pineapple. Our server said, “It’s Pineapple Fried Rice.” It looked delicious, almost too pretty to eat, like everything else at Rice n Roll.

On the Menu

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The Rundown

  • Location: 1952 N. Farwell Ave.
  • Phone: 414-220-9944
  • Hours: 4:30 p.m. to 10:00 p.m Mon, 11:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m & 4:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. Tues-Sat, 11 a.m to 3 p.m & 4:30 to 10:30 p.m, 4:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Sun
  • Walk Score: 92
  • Transit Score: 55
  • Website: http://ricenrollbistro.com/
  • Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ricenrollmilwaukee/
  • UM Rating: 3.9666666666667 stars (average of Yelp, Trip Advisor and Zomato)
  • Price range food (small plates): $2.95-$11.95
  • Price range food (entrees): $8.95-$23.95

3 thoughts on “Dining: Rice N Roll Is A Great Show”

  1. Chuck says:

    “The sushi (raw fish) was salmon, draped over vinegar-scented cold rice enhanced by the addition of shaved ginger and a micro-drop of wasabi.”

    The sushi is actually the rice. The salmon is an ingredient in the sushi. If the salmon was served raw by itself without rice it would be called sashimi.

  2. Tim says:

    “Sushi (すし, 寿司, 鮨?) is the Japanese preparation and serving of specially prepared vinegared rice (鮨飯 sushi-meshi) combined with varied ingredients (ネタ neta) such as chiefly seafood (often uncooked), vegetables, and occasionally tropical fruits. Styles of sushi and its presentation vary widely, but the key ingredient in all cases is the sushi rice, also referred to as shari (しゃり), or sumeshi (酢飯).”

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sushi

    Sushi is a dish where the rice is integral but not the sole ingredient.

    Semantics aside, Rice N Roll is tasty!

  3. JPKMKE says:

    We love Rice N Roll. Very good Sushi. They also have some Thai plates on the menu. Great people and service. We are very fortunate to have this restaurant in MKE.

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