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Where Thai and Sushi Come Together

Rice N Roll rocks the taste buds with unique flavors

Jan. 5, 2016
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Photo by Maggie Vaughn

Rice N Roll Bistro, the newest in the row of ethnic restaurants on Farwell Avenue, is a great addition to the East Side. The minimalist modern décor and small sushi counter may not be fancy, but when the food is that good it doesn’t matter that you are sitting on a wood bench. 

The Asian fusion of sushi and Thai is a great combination with many choices. Rice N Roll offers lunch specials of both sushi and Thai and a sushi happy hour. The sushi is as amazing as the two chefs behind the bar who seem to really have a good time together and enjoy what they do. The rice is cooked and seasoned well, rolled with perfection or presented as a wonderful base for the donburi, sashimi and nigiri of fresh fish that drape over it with that pure marine-like quality.

They offer 11 vegetarian maki options. The ACA roll ($5.95) was delicious, perfectly blanched asparagus, crisp cucumber and silky avocado—so refreshing on the palate. They also have the traditional rolls that you would find on most sushi menus with spicy tuna, shrimp, salmon, unagi and crab. All the sushi has a substitution option of handroll, soy paper, brown rice or black rice for a minimal upcharge.

They have a long list of signature rolls like “Call me Crazy” ($8.95) with spicy tuna, sriracha and spicy mayo with a crunch from tempura flakes. There are also a few unusual combinations, such as the “Raising Sun” ($10.95) with yellow tail, smoked salmon, octopus, crab topped with broiled spicy mayo, wasabi mayo and spicy sauce. Both were delicious and beautifully presented. There is an art when it comes to sushi and they hit the mark on creativity and artfully designed plates.

On to appetizers: They have, again, a wide assortment to choose from, including tofu ($5.95) stacked like a Rubik’s Cube, fried perfectly, served with a sweet and sour sauce and sprinkled with peanuts. Also good are their signature dumplings ($6), Thai wings ($6.95) and tempura with choice of sweet potato ($5.95). The batter on the tempura was not greasy and had just the right thickness for coating the tender vegetables.

The Thai offerings complete the lineup with traditional rice and noodle dishes. You can substitute Woonsen (glass noodles) where appropriate, as in the pad thai. There are four curries (green, red, panang and masaman). The panang ($10) is the most popular, boasting fresh ginger, crisp beans and peppers, and lime leaves. It was nutty and spicy. We opted for the tender, juicy chicken (but veggie, tofu, beef and shrimp are also available).

Outstanding among the signature entrées is the Caribbean fried rice ($12.50) served in a half pineapple. The Two Nations Noodles ($12) is a stir-fried large wheat noodle dish, aromatic from the fresh Thai basil with a good amount of heat from the hot chili.

Don’t pass up the interesting desserts. The house-made coconut ice cream, served in half a coconut, was light and had a delicate coconut flavor. Crunchy banana balls were fried and served with ice cream or the Green Tea Matcha crème brulee. (Desserts: $3.95-$6.95)

Rice N Roll serves 15 different sake including a dry house sake available chilled or hot. They have everything from local beer to Sapporo and a decent wine list. There is a reason why they were nominated for Best New Restaurant, Best Sushi and Best Thai in the Shepherd’s Best of Milwaukee contest. It’s a great place to rock everyone’s taste buds.

Rice N Roll Bistro
1952 N. Farwell Ave.
Handicap access: Yes


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