Rooster & Rice is a mini-chain (with three locations currently) of restaurants in San Francisco that specializes in khao man gai - the Thai dish of poached chicken with rice cooked in chicken fat, served with a soy based sauce and a side of chicken broth. Recently it was announced that they will merge with similar, newer local chain Chick’n Rice (started by some of the founders of delivery service Caviar) to form an even bigger khao man gai empire:
I’ve had dinner a few times recently at the FiDi location, so here’s a report.
They have a very simple menu - a few variations of khao man gai, with a tofu option as well for vegetarians. Among the options is the amusingly named “Marina” - a version with skinless white meat and brown rice, which does in fact sound very suited for the Marina crowd. Their original location is near the Marina in Cow Hollow.
You order at the counter and pick up your food when your number is called. I usually get the classic, with dark meat only. Sometimes with vegetables (broccoli) on the side to increase the healthiness. All of the dishes ordered on the premises - even when dining in - are served in paper compostable boxes. You help yourself to napkins and utensils and hot sauce from a table on the side.
It’s a good khao man gai. I’ve had this dish at a number of places but haven’t been to Thailand yet to try it at the source. Tender flavorful skin-on chicken (helped by the dark meat only) with a decent amount of fattiness. The rice was also good and had noticeable chicken flavor and a yellowish tint, but it sometimes was a little too clumped together and slightly overcooked. The sauce, which had a little bit of heat, tasted like a sweet rich salty soy sauce with garlic and ginger and had whole soybeans in it. Those craving more heat can also add sriracha and a house made habanero sauce as well. I usually just dump the sauce over the chicken before digging in. It’s garnished with a few sprigs of cilantro and some cucumber slices. The cup of soup on the side is a plain chicken broth, ideal for slurping between bites of chicken and rice. I didn’t detect any notes of winter melon in the soup, unlike the soup from say Nong’s in Portland.