Monday, October 02, 2006

Getting Beyond Typical Chinese Food

Getting Beyond Typical Chinese Food
By Ben Antonius

FAIRFIELD - If you go to Sticky Rice Bistro hoping for a white box of General Tso's Chicken and some fortune cookies, you will probably be disappointed.

The restaurant, located in the Wiseman Building on Business Center Drive, opened earlier this month. The building will hold its formal grand opening ceremony on Tuesday.

Owners Molly Tou and her uncle, James Jung, are trying to offer a classy, international take on the world of Chinese food, which has long been characterized by dingy take-out restaurants, greasy food and goofy fortunes, they said.

Tou is quick to point out how Stick Rice Bistro differs. Rather than being a hole-in-the-wall with dim lighting, the restaurant is roomy with a stylish, modern look. There is a 60-seat patio along a large, artificial pond behind the building.

Also noteworthy is the menu, which is based on Jung's experience running a Chinese restaurant in Vallejo as well as cooking in Thai, Italian, Japanese and Russian restaurants.

"We took a traditional Chinese restaurant menu and kept the things we thought are absolute favorites and we added some new things," Tou said.

They offer standard favorites such as broccoli beef and kung pao chicken, but much of the menu consists of options such as mandarin rib-eye steak strips, steamed sea bass, walnut pineapple prawns and a seaweed salad topped with raw tuna.
"A lot of my dishes, I assure you, you won't be able to find anywhere else," Jung said.

Jung spent several months putting together the menu from popular offerings at his Vallejo restaurant, dishes he had cooked elsewhere and family recipes, he said. He was generally happy with the menu but wanted the freedom to change it from time to time, although Tou said they would likely keep some of the traditional items on the menu.

"We have to have a certain type of dish so people don't come in and feel totally lost," she said.

Jung's personal favorite dishes are the walnut pineapple prawns and the scallops with spicy garlic sauce, he said. Tou also listed the prawns dish as one of her favorites.

The restaurant has a full bar, something Tou said is a recent trend among more upscale Chinese restaurants. She plans to start offering happy hour specials on Thursday. Sticky Rice Bistro offers to-go food but Tou said the restaurant was envisioned as "a full dining experience."

The food is served family-style and the price of entrees ranges from about $8 to $15. Altogether, Tou said an average customer would spend $20 to $25 during a dinner visit.

Reach Ben Antonius at 427-6977 or

Sticky Rice Bistro

Owners: Molly Tou and James Jung
Hours: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday
Address: 5030-100 Business Center Drive, Fairfield
Phone: 863-7500
Opened for business: Sept. 19

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