Restaurant Review – Sticky Rice (Harbor East)

Sticky Rice, a swarming sushi joint located in Harbor East/Fells Point is not your typical Asian restaurant. The menu, despite the name, features sushi and noodles with random offerings of burgers and salads as well. It’s weird to see a teriyaki burger beside options of nigiri and sashimi.

Weird menu aside, we started off with some sushi basics – seaweed salad. For $5 you get a meager portion garnished with field greens. At least it was fresh. We then ordered the red dragon roll and the chili roll. Both were very good. The red dragon roll was a specialty item and had shrimp tempura, avocado, cucumber with spicy tuna and eel on top. All the ingredients were very fresh and the crunchiness of the shrimp was nicely paired with the spicy tuna and sweet warm eel. Sticky Rice gets kudos for not smothering the eel in that nasty eel sauce that every sushi restaurant uses. The chili roll was comprised of tuna, cucumber, jalapeno and pineapple. This roll was quite boring… until you got the taste of the jalapeno with the pineapple. From that bite on, the roll really does make sense – the sweetness was perfectly offset by the small crunchy bits of raw jalapeno.

For the main, we shared the Mongolian beef. Those of you who have had the Mongolian beef at P.F. Changs are probably thinking “Oh nice, a slam dunk”. One problem, this was nothing like the Mongolian beef at P.F. Changs, it was a noodle dish that was reminiscent of the Japanese pan noodles at Noodles and Company. Except these noodles weren’t as good, sadly. The beef was cuts of rump roast, which were over-salted and then seared until there wasn’t any juice left in them. The noodles had a bland sauce and were surrounded by carrots and water chestnuts – blah. We reluctantly had the rest boxed up and later gave it to a homeless man in Canton.

All in all, Sticky Rice is great at making sushi and creating interesting combinations of rolls. Stay away from anything on the menu that doesn’t involve “sticky rice”, for example the Mongolian beef. Another nice thing about Sticky Rice is its full bar with a plentiful assortment of beers on tap. I enjoyed a German wheat beer while my girlfriend was able to get her usual orange crush. There were also wines, flavored wines and sake on the menu, which all sounded good.

I will return to Sticky Rice but only if the meal is limited to sushi and drinks – otherwise this place is a “no-go” for me.

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