Heads up Asian food 'hounds - I found a great new Chinese restaurant today in the Asian strip mall on the Southwest corner of North Lamar and Braker. The restaurant goes by the very generic sounding "Rice Bowl Cafe", but I found the food to be anything but generic or bland. I know there are many different types/regions of Chinese food, but I had never heard of a Taiwan style before.
I ordered the Szechuan Beef Noodle Soup - wow! if you like SPICY, this is extremely spicy stuff. The soup is similar to a bowl of Pho; the handmade noodles were extraordinary - they are thicker and chewier than the vermicelli rice noodles you usually see in a bowl of Pho. The beef broth was heartier and much spicier than a Pho broth, and it had a subtle, delicious sweetness that became addictive after a couple of bites. The beef chunks were tasty and plentiful - very tender, full of flavor. I assume the beef chunks were roasted before being placed in the soup as the meat did not have that dried out, boiled flavor. The soup is served with a side plate of cilantro and red onion if you want to add some more flavor to the broth.
I was extremely impressed with the quality of the noodles - these are homemade (handmade), the beef chunks (high quality meat) and the broth (fresh-tasting - full of flavor). The rest of the menu features 15-20 other Chinese entrees, about half were familiar Chinese Restaurant fare and the others a bit more exotic (Pork Feet Noodle Soup!). Next time, I'm definitely sampling the Lo Mein because I think I've developed an addiction to those noodles. ;-)
The service was fast, friendly and very informative. The interior is nice and clean. I believe this is the location of a failed Thai restaurant. This is much nicer than your typical soup kitchen.
The prices are terrific - my bowl of soup was $6.50 and 4 hours later I'm still stuffed. The rice and noodle dishes are $6-$7.5 and the entrees are $7-$9 - the most expensive dish in the place is $9!!
If you are looking for a new place to try, please don't overlook this restaurant b/c of the generic sounding name. There are some delicious treats awaiting you inside the Rice Bowl Cafe. I hope you like it as much as I did
11220 N Lamar Blvd #306
Open daily 11-9:30