Just to chime in my two cents here on my visit in June. I have heard a lot about this place, most notably on LTHForum. I have been to Macau before, and enjoyed Macanese food though it was more on things like African Chicken, their Portuguese baked chicken, and that salted fish cod ball. I was a little hungry and entered the restaurant just when it opened.
Pretty nice setup, though it can get loud as more and more people enter.
As I was a little hungry and thinking that I probably won’t be visiting Chicago anytime soon after this trip, I decided to go all out and get their namesake–Arroz Gordo (aka Fat Rice).
Boy this thing was loaded. According to Fat Rice, their Arroz Gordo contains jasmine rice with sofrito, chorizo, dried golden raisins, and salted duck with a pretty crispy soccarat at the bottom. It is then topped with curried chicken thighs, char siu pork, linguica sausage, prawns, steamed clams, tea eggs, croutons, olives and pickled chillis.
From what I could see into the kitchen, they cooked a few ingredients separately and then placed together in a nice looking medley. The chorizo had a pretty smokey flavor and went well with the rice which was a little sweet. The curry chicken thighs were pretty juicy and made me reminiscent of the baked Portuguese chicken dishes. The croutons were nice and toasty, and gave a solid crunch. However, for me, this is where things begin to slide. The prawns and clams were somewhat cool by the time the dish got put together. The tea egg’s yolk was more towards the overcooked side and was somewhat grainy and dry. The char siu was okay, but the marinade wasn’t the same savory sweet taste I expect like the ones in HK, additionally the fat distribution resulted in a few extremely fatty pieces and really lean pieces. The rice was well done, but it is not probable for a single person to go through this entire dish … oops.
Overall, it was an interesting medley, I just did not think it hit all the marks and the dish was rather pricey ($48 when I was there). They had a mushroom soy sauce and their diablo hot sauce which made the items more interesting, but I honestly don’t think they were needed.
Though I could not fully continue and stuff myself with the fat rice, I recall that they had Portuguese tarts and wanted to compare to Lord Stowe’s.
Though it wasn’t fresh out of the oven at this point (bakery’s closed I think), there was a distinct caramel aroma from the tart. Unfortunately, the custard itself was not up to par–I found it rather lumpy. The crust wasn’t too bad but did not really give off a flakey feel. The real blow for this pastry though is that the price wouldn’t just given Golden Gate Bakery in SF a run for its money, it would outright steal their wallet. The tart was five dollars for one pastry. Oof.
In the end, I didn’t quite enjoy Fat Rice for its food nor its value. Would I go back? Possibly if someone knows their menu’s hidden gems but I think I’ll take a look at Chicago’s other fine offerings next time I’m around.
Edit: And uh… shouldn’t this topic be under US-Midwest?