I decided to go to Rice Express based on reviews in Yelp. Although 8 reviews was not a lot, I didn't have a lot of time to choose. Some things to remember when you navigate over there. First of all, the restaurant is facing Natoma St even though the address is Blue Ravine so if you pull into the shopping center from Blue Ravine you will think that the restaurant doesn't exist since most of the shopping center is empty. Fortunately, I explored the Natoma facing side and breathed a sigh of relief when I saw the lights and sign.
This turned out to be a good decision. The place is small and cozy. I could tell it was family owned. The waitress and service was really excellent. The cook brought out the food himself. What more can one ask for? So here is what we had:
Yu Xiang Xia Qiu or spicy shrimp with vegetables,
Guo Ba Tang or sizzling rice soup,
Shi Cai He Fen or vegetable wide noodle
Chao Bai Cai or stir fried Chinese Bok Choy
Vegetable Chun Juan or vegetable egg roll
The spicy shrimp with vegetables was really good. A little heavy on the sugar but still a good mix with shredded carrots, tree ear (kind of mushroom) and green onion.
Sizzling rice soup was excellent. The rice sizzled as it was dropped into the soup and a small cloud of steam rose from the bowl. The broth was just right, not too salty with enough flavor to support the generous portion of vegetables and chicken thrown in.
My wife and daughter always prefer the wide style noodle. I usually shy away from that style because it tends to be oilier than the thin noodle but this place has figured out how to make it light.
Although stir fried bok choy is just a simple dish,this was one of my favorite dishes of the evening. The cook laid out a steaming plate cooked just right with tons of garlic. That is the traditional Chinese way and I was in garlic heaven as I wolfed it down with rice.
Egg rolls can be an oily disaster if they are not fried in hot enough oil and served immediately. We had to wait a few minutes before biting into our rolls and they were steaming hot and crunchy.
So all that food plus white rice came to around $40. Great service and great food.
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