With its rapid growth in the past several years, Logan Circle has begun to develop a laid-back yet cutting-edge identity that is fueled by the amalgamate of hipsters, artists and young professionals who frequent the venues in this area as well as the flurry of restaurants that have sprung up on and around the 14th street corridor. There is a Manhattan lower-east side aesthetic to many of these establishments and Rice would certainly fall into this category.
Cost – $$
Service – A-
The staff is tremendously warm and friendly. I don’t believe that our server necessarily had an expert grasp of the menu however she was prompt, polite and so genuine that there were times I felt like standing up and giving her a bear hug. However, this seemed completely inappropriate so I avoided it.
The menu is contemporary Thai and is split into three categories – house specialties, authentic Thai, and healthy/green dishes (although most Thai food is healthy in my opinion). There was a slight wait when we first arrived and as we were standing by the bar I was jolted by a waft reminiscent of kalbi (one of the most incredible smells in the world) and looked over to see a plate of sliced steak on some guy’s plate and after that it wasn’t really much of a mystery what I was going to order. As anticipated, the grilled NY Steak was mouth watering. What was unexpected was how much I also enjoyed the spicy chicken basil dish we ordered.
I’m falling in love with unfinished brick and an entire wall in Rice is unfinished. The opposing wall is finished in white that appears a bit bare. The ceilings are high, which does create a bit of a sense of emptiness when taken in combination with the bare white main wall. However, the empty space is offset by warm lighting and the crowd itself. From what I understand there aren’t many nights when Rice hasn’t drawn a good crowd (knock on wood).
Feel – A-
Rice is perfect for dinner on a weekday or weekend evening, probably with a smaller group or just a couple due to seating constraints. I instantly fell in love with the place the moment we walked in and were greeted by the hostess. The synthesis of the service, food and visual aesthetic in the place culminate in a top-tier experience. We actually walked into Cork at first but after being told the 30-minute window on my reservation had expired and I’d have to start at the end of the queue, by a hostess who seemed irritated and frazzled, I didn’t think for a second before deciding to leave and head over to Rice.
Rice is located at 1608 14th Street, NW. They can be reached at (202) 234-2400 and reservations are recommended.
What’s the Buzz:
April 15, 2008 – Rice (Bacon and Blue) – Rice garners a bustling/hip crowd for dinner in the Logan/14th Street corridor – particularly on the weekend. The inside is calming and sleek – and completely met my expectations based on the view from the front window. Full article…
February 19, 2008 – Thai two ways a la Logan Circle: Rice and Thai Tanic (Kiss my Grits!) – Rice is very feng shui minimalist chic – spare tables, light washes as a nod to wall décor, and an exposed brick wall. I recently visited on a Friday night (note: on the early-ish side: 7pm) and was seated right away, although it did get crowded later on. I wished for a table along the perimeter of the room, but that’s more of a personal preference, and those tables seemed to be reserved for 4 people as opposed to our party of 2. Full article…