Rice Broker [San Francisco]
Two of us shared these things at Rice Broker last night:
CRISPY CHICKEN - panko-breaded chicken breast, shaved brussels sprouts, korean-style bbq sauce; PORK AND GINGER MEATBALLS - slow-cooked, deep-flavored rice porridge, bok choy, black sesame; FRIED RICE - Chinese sausage, scallion, egg, carrot & pumpkin seeds; and a special - a spicy/lemony stir-fry of calamari and cauliflower - which was maybe the best thing of the evening - Chef Neil Jorgensen has a way with cauliflower - but it was all really good. I was surprised at how much we liked all the food - though I don't know why - I loved Spork.
The chicken reminded me of tonkatsu, crispy and tender. The flavor was a little on the bland side, but maybe intentionally so as it came with three assertive dipping sauces - a thai spicy/sweet chili, a korean bbq, and a yellow mustard.
The pork and ginger meatballs was more like a soup than porridge, and won second place - really deeply flavored, complex, rich without being cloying or heavy - i think i detected Chinese 5 spice but it was difficult to name all the different flavors. a really delicious dish. We took most of this home since we over-ordered and I’m happy to have some to eat today.
The fried rice was good and satisfying, and i loved the surprise of biting into pumpkin seeds. nice and gingery, too.
It’s a cash only place now, you order at the counter and they bring you your food, and it’s beer only (no wine) – a very casual atmosphere. There is a sign on the counter that everything is made fresh to order, so the food might take a little longer. Nevertheless, we asked if we could possibly get out in less than an hour to make a show, and they accommodated us. We sat at the counter, and thanked Chef for our meal. He responded with his appreciation, and bid us enjoy our show.
Our server said the neighborhood is protesting the owners of the building razing the old Kentucky Fried Chicken building and putting up condos in that space, which is why Spork closed, so Rice Broker may be around longer than they originally thought. Which is a very good thing.
Two days left! run! We went again tonight, and had the ahi tuna bowl, the puu puu platter, and 2 repeats, the chicken katsu dish, and the pork & ginger meatball, congee-like dish, to take home. the puu platter consisted of sweet and salty peanuts, pickled daikon, and edamame with dandelion greens and cane vinegar. i could have eaten a whole bowl of the edamame alone - it had perfect umami - but all 3 were a nice light start.
the ahi tuna bowl was fantastic - every bite had a piece of tender fresh tuna sashimi, something spicy *sesame chili oil), sweet (apples slices), greens, crunchy (cashews), minty, and bitter (endive). there was an overall juiciness that made the dish rich but still really fresh and light. The chicken was even better than last time - had more flavor, with great crispiness. my BF ordered a side of jasmine rice with it, which was fragrant and almost buttery.
We've already decided that the pork & ginger meatball dish won't last us through the weekend so we're probably going to pick up our last bowl Sun. night so I can take some for lunch next week. I'm so sorry to see this place go, and that I tried it so late.
We tried to find out where the Chef was going next but the coy answer was "vacation" from his counter gals, and then he got slammed so we never got to talk to him. will have to keep my ears open to find out where he lands. wherever it is, i hope there's some of this wonderful asian fusion food on the menu.
couple of too-dark pics attached.
so, what gives? Rice Broker closes because they're razing the old KFC building to make room for condos, but Sugoi Sushi moves in (before the rice cookers had even had a chance to cool down!) with a 2-year lease?? I'm not against a nice new sushi place in my neighborhood, but i was just begning to enjoy RB. Anyone know what the story is behind this?