Rice The Great Does My Second Favorite Street Meat Chicken (After Kwik Meal)
On a beautiful early autumn day last week, I went looking for something I hadn’t tried before. In the mood for something street meat-ish, I headed for Rice the Great on 50th and 6th, and surprisingly, I almost couldn’t find it. That corner has become such a lunch hotspot that the cart seemed engulfed by the throngs of people standing around the many lunch options packed in a very small area. Flanked by Big D’s Grub and Crisp on Wheels, not to mention the other trucks/carts that flanked those trucks, I almost missed Rice the Great’s cart altogether. Luckily for me, I waded through the crowds to order a lunch I would definitely return for again and again.
As jenjfen wrote originally, the menu is small, and their large combo was exactly what I was craving — either beef or chicken over rice pilaf with red sauce and/or white sauce and salad for $6. I ordered half and half at no extra cost, with both white and red sauces. They have improved the wait time since they first opened — I waited less than 5 minutes during a busy Thursday lunch rush.
The chicken just might be my second favorite street meat chicken (after Kwik Meal on 45th and 6th). The tender dark meat chicken was coated in a warm spice mix and had a nice sear on the outside.
The beef, as jenjfen already wrote, was also very flavorful with spices (like cumin or corriander, maybe?) coming through. They appear to have tightened up the white sauce, and the red sauce had a very tomato-y flavor, almost like concentrated tomato paste. If you’re used to regular street cart spicy red sauce, this might not be for you, as it had no heat to it whatsoever. But, they may have hot sauce hiding if you ask for it. The salad was also nice, although I will admit I usually don’t may much mind to the salads that accompany my street meat platters. But, there seemed to be a little more effort in this salad than those from other carts, with its very fresh diced tomatoes and cucumbers over mixed greens with a vinaigrette.
ML’ers, the rice was, indeed, great. It was extremely flavorful, and you can actually see the flecks of spice on the grains. Raisins added a nice occasional sweetness, and chickpeas add a nice crunch. I literally couldn’t stop eating it. There was definitely something to jenjfen’s attempt at creating the “perfect bite”, but my spork gravitated towards the chicken over the beef with a nice mix of rice pilaf for that perfection. No white or red sauce needed.
So, if you’re looking for street meat with a twist, Rice the Great just might satisfy your craving. It’s too bad they don’t fit the strict criteria for Street Meat Palooza — I’ll bet they’d give some of the front runners a run for their money!
Rice the Great Food Cart, 50th and 6th