This might be my new favorite restaurant in Chicago. There. I said it.
I’ve been telling everyone I can about Fat Rice. It was seriously one of the best meals I’ve had in Chicago in a while. And that’s saying something because I eat out a lot.
The concept is a fusion of flavors from Portugal and Macau (which is a tiny island off of China that was a colony of Portugal until 1999). There are also influences from India and SE Asia. The result is amazing, intriguing and delicious. Think Portuguese sausage, ham, olives, saffron somehow seamlessly blended with Asian flavors like curry, lotus, Sichuan peppercorn, ginger and sesame oil. They say that this combination “may seem progressive, but it’s old!”
All I know is, it’s amazing and you must go now!
A Grub Street article I read before I went to Fat Rice compared Chef Abraham Conlon to the likes of David Chang. Might I say I agree (oh… and I like Chef Abe’s stuff way more than Chang’s) and I sooo hope he explodes in Chicago the way that Chang did in NYC. (Chef, if you’re reading this, next resto in the West Loop, please!) AND, from the short conversation I had with Chef Abe (which consisted of me fumbling for the words to express how incredible the meal was), I think I can safely say that he’s a sweet, kind and humble person to boot!
The food at Fat Rice isn’t the super fancy kind. It doesn’t need to be to impress. It’s the stuff that’s so interesting and well balanced and flavorful that you can’t stop going back for more until you’re totally stuffed.
We started with this pickled cauliflower with ginger. There’s a whole selection of pickled goodies to snack on. Next time I’ll try the smoky tofu or sour chili cabbage.
The real star was this “casserole,” though. They call it “Portuguese Chicken” with curry, mussels, coconut & chorizo. Interesting combo, no? I’m telling you, it was TDF!! Tender, moist chicken thighs in this amazing, rich curry broth over coconut rice? Ohmygawd. Did I say amazing enough times yet? Amazing.
The noodles in XO sauce were equally show-stopping. They’re those big fat chewy noodles that had been cooked off and rolled individually before getting sauteed into the sauce. The sauce was salty and deep with pork and shrimp paste, bean sprouts, scallions, peppers and probably a bunch more ingredients I don’t know about.
Unfortunately, we didn’t eat this one. I don’t even know what it is. It just looked so beautiful that we stopped the server on his way to a table to take a picture of it. Gorgeous.
I left Fat Rice grateful to have found such delicious, different, soul-warming food in Chicago. Obviously, I highly recommend you make the trip to this little restaurant in Logan Square (even if it’s reeeeeaaaally out of your way). You’ll be glad you did!