Review 8-13

The Panko-Breaded Chicken and Jasmine Rice was the perfect dinner portion at Rooster and Rice. (Photo by Jennifer Caldwell)

Being in the service industry, I have worked brunch.  Brunch is a hard shift because it is very busy, and sometimes it’s hard for people to be nice in the morning.  My wonderful coworker would have me stop what I was doing and have a little broth with him before starting my day.

I can’t describe how, but this little ritual – albeit warm, salty, familiar and comforting – made my day a lot easier to manage.  After eating at Rooster & Rice, I found my broth again.

Rooster & Rice is in The Stomping Grounds off 34th and Ella, a new development with impressive new tenants. It is a concept from California that is looking for traction in Texas.  True to the name, it is a chicken and rice-based restaurant that amps up Khao Mun Gai (poached chicken and jasmine rice) with fresh vegetables, spicy sauces and house-made pickles.

They offer counter service only, and there is limited inside seating, so it was recommended by staff that the food be ordered to go.  

I started with The Cutlet, which is a panko crusted chicken thigh served over fragrant jasmine rice, accompanied by sides of sweet chili, habanero sauce, and spicy pickled vegetables. I have been craving fried chicken this week, and this more than satisfied the craving without making me feel gauche.  It is perfectly crisp, and the chicken is flavorful and juicy.  The habanero sauce is a perfect accompaniment, as it is not too spicy, and has a creaminess that works very well with the crunchy chicken.  At $13.95, this was a nice-sized and healthy meal, but did not make me feel like I had broken either my wallet, or my tummy.

I decided to try the salad to make sure I had some non-pickled veggies, and it was simple and surprisingly satisfying.  Very fresh mixed greens, cucumber, diced broccoli stalks, carrots, cherry tomatoes and peanuts came with a dressing described as the “KMG Vinaigrette.” This was the highlight of the meal.  It has a soy sauce/ginger-y base, with herbs to give the sauce bulk, and it is blended with oil, in the style of a vinaigrette.  It was delicious, not to be missed.  It really elevated the salad and highlighted the freshness of the vegetables while complimenting the overall combination of flavors. 

Back to the broth. The meal was served with a well-portioned side of chicken broth.  Simple enough.  It was an incredibly cloudy, salty, lovely broth with accents of green onion.  It transported me back to the days when a good friend helped me find my relaxation food, and it helped me have a positive and productive day.

I uncharacteristically passed on popcorn chicken, a breaded chicken sandwich, a shredded chicken congee with egg - basically a savory rice pudding -  and they even have waffle fries.

Just because I had a healthy meal doesn’t mean you should, particularly when the menu is $13.95 or under.  Give Rooster & Rice a try.  Have one of everything.  Drink some broth. Have a great day.

Rooster & Rice 

Address: 1223 West 34th Street, Suite C-400

Dining Options: Dine In, Take Out

Hours: 11 a.m.-9 p.m. daily

Entrée Prices: $7.95 - $13.95

Kid-Friendly: Yes

Senior Discount: No

Alcohol: No

Healthy Options: Yes

Star of the Show: The KMG Sauce

Rating: 5 out of 5 bites

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