R Rice’s name isn’t obvious from a distance. Instead, the words “Wok Grill Sushi” are the first to catch your eye. It’s one of a line of eateries at the Piedmont Heart Institute on Peachtree-Dunwoody, of which I’ve reviewed Uncle Julio’s and FIGO so far. This isn’t the easiest place to park but if you’ll be patient, you can.
I didn’t make the connection to R. Rice and this location until I was seated and I was looking at the menu. The items on the list seemed too familiar, and I realized I had already selected what I wanted to eat in advance. They had a mussels appetizer and they had edamame. Agedashi tofu sounded good as well. They had a Kobe burger if I wanted to eat simply, grilled salmon if I wanted to eat cautiously, and sushi if I wanted to tread higher carb waters. I opted for caution.
To note, it’s pretty inside, modern and sleek in appearance. Space near the sushi chef is open. You can watch people prepare food here. Staff is good looking, dressed in black, graceful, efficient. From where I was sitting, there were two wide screen televisions to view and they turned on the subtitles. There is a small but well stocked bar in here as well. It’s not a large place, perhaps the equivalent of 10 tables seating four. Ambiance was casual.
The mussels were good. I like boiled mussels, and the cream sauce added color and a rich creamy flavor to the mix. The salmon plate was about as perfectly balanced a plate of food (for me) as I’ve ever seen. Meats, grilled vegetables, and a salad. Plenty of mushrooms and grilled onions, plenty of umami in the vegetables. A bit of sweetness in the salad, not unacceptably so. Given the size of the rice portions on other plates, what you’re talking about is a staff that adapted when I told them I couldn’t eat starches and gave me food that I could. I have reviewed dozens of restaurants since being diagnosed and the ones that could pull this trick can be counted on the thumbs of one hand.
Yes. Call me impressed.
I didn’t try the sushi, but the French couple to my right were downing plenty of it with no regrets.
Verdict: This restaurant features a flexible menu, reasonable appetizers, and good entrées. If you just want a pint and a burger, you can get it here. If you’re into sushi rolls, they have plenty of those. If you just want edamame, some grilled meats, and a chance to watch a game, they have the screens. In a land where “authentic” is often assumed to be synonymous with quality, this is an Asian hybrid with plenty of vigor. I like this place, a lot. Two thumbs, way up.
Update: This is post number 500 on this blog.
1140 Hammond Drive
Sandy Springs, GA 30328