A really great rice plate


The tofu rice plate from Capital City BBQ never fails to provide the perfect mix of savoriness, crispiness, saltiness and freshness. When paired with a duo of shrimp spring rolls, this dish makes a perfect weeknight dinner. Because I live near the corner of Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and Saginaw Street, I can pick up my food and enjoy an evening stroll down the closed section of what is usually a very busy — and incredibly dangerous — area to be a pedestrian.

Last week, pressed for time and looking to keep it light and fresh, I called in my order, then sauntered down the thoroughfare past sleeping construction equipment and very large piles of sand. After picking up my food, I walked home, swinging my bag of goodies by my side. The early summer evening stroll was the perfect appetizer for the dish to come.

The rolls at Capital City BBQ never fail to delight. Whether they’re filled with pork, shrimp or tofu, it's the flavorful combination of spicy peanut butter sauce, mint and cilantro that gets me every time. I mean, think about it, mint and peanut butter? Somehow it really works, and the spice is enough to get my attention.

Unlike some rice paper rolls, these don’t fall apart, and they’re easy to eat from start to finish. A large order of six would make a perfect standalone lunch, combining protein, herbs and rice noodles. Although I haven’t tried the hoisin or sweet chili sauce, they’re both good options for those who prefer to go without peanut butter.

In comparison to the excitement of the spring rolls, the tofu plate, a dollop of jasmine rice topped with pan-fried tofu, a fried egg and a mix of fresh and pickled vegetables, is mild. But don’t be fooled by its calm exterior. Earthy flavors of umami mix beautifully with the crunch of lettuce and carrots. The rice is perfectly textured and delicately seasoned with a hint of oil and green onion.

A sesame-vinegar dressing gives a lowkey zing to the simple salad of lettuce, julienned pickled carrots, tomato and cucumber. Something I appreciate about this dish is that the basics are done well. It’s got all the ingredients to stand on its own — or with a little hot sauce. Above all, it’s the perfect way to enjoy a tasty, clean-feeling meal while still satisfying a craving for deep-fried goodness.


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