Ricecream: Something familiar yet wildly different at the same time

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Dear readers: this week&rsquo;s review was full of surprises. I didn&rsquo;t know what to expect from the moment I read about this &ldquo;Ricecream&rdquo; and its rave reviews in Linden Square, their &ldquo;creamy rice bites,&rdquo; and how its own name was way more literal than something I first took to be some kind of savoury Asian dessert.&nbsp;</p>

But first, the environment. You know that really slick condo with the flashing lights along University Avenue? If you don’t, you literally can’t miss it, especially at night when it lights up with a mysterious rave-like intensity that trips me out everytime I pass by. This place is called Linden Square, and I didn’t know exactly what to expect because I’d never gone inside until now.

Anyway, Ricecream turned out to be a tiny food stand surrounded by a few metal chairs and tables, manned by two staff members working in sync amidst an array of weirdly interesting Japanese toys. It was clearly not a place you were meant to linger at, evidenced by the one customer eating there (although if I had the choice to go home as a resident and eat my food in bed in a snuggly onesie, I’d totally do that too). I ordered the “Creamy Select” sushi platter with nine pieces of basil shrimp, spicy salmon, and mackerel sushi, along with the mysterious “Mizburger” combo, which included miso soup for a limited time only. 

With some trepidation, I opened my box of sushi that uniquely looked just like a pencil or jewelry box. The sushi itself was beautifully composed, all identically packaged into delicate, jewel-like morsels with a tiny adorable ingredient on top to indicate which one you were eating. Sampling the basil shrimp sushi first, I was immediately taken aback at how explosively flavourful it was. Ricecream really knows how to make the best out of few ingredients, flame searing the top of the fish so it had this beautiful, flavourful char that we all love while simultaneously protecting the tenderness and rawness of the sushi itself (this process is called Aburi in Japanese). The staff had advised me to taste the sushi first before adding soy sauce, and I was glad I had because the umami sauce that flavoured the fish really added the burst of salt it needed. The rice itself was, unsurprisingly, one of the best parts of the meal, creamy as promised and laced with Ricecream’s homemade Japanese mayo (which, by the way, tastes exactly like what mayonnaise made by angels tastes like). All of the fish was perfectly cooked and surprisingly satiating, but my favourite one had to be the spicy salmon, for the reason that a) it’s salmon and b) there was ANOTHER layer of salmon layered within the rice, in case you just wanted MORE salmon (which is always, always a thing).

But what was this mysterious “Mizburger” concoction? To put it in simple terms, it was basically two creamy rice “buns” encasing a layer of bulgogi beef, kimchee, slaw, and corn. Although perfectly good, and again, surprisingly satiating, I found I preferred the sushi’s delicately intense flavour a tiny bit more even if the Mizburger technically had more value for your money. In fact, the only dings against Ricecream I could find was that the miso soup was unmemorable and the Mizburger that was supposed to be served warm was given to us cold; although when I informed the staff of this, he looked so apologetic that I didn’t even really mind anymore as it had been delicious anyway.

In conclusion, Ricecream serves food that somehow manages to be very different, but tasty and familiar at the same time. I feel like I personally would be hard-pressed to pay $10 (incl. tip) for six pieces of sushi though. Ah, who am I kidding, these are just words I’ll say until I inevitably get a crazy craving that can’t be satisfied by just about anything else this close to campus.

Want to change the hands of her fate and decide where Lenore should eat next? Send an email to food@uwimprint.ca or tweet @lenore_ramirez—she probably won’t bite (unless she’s really hungry).

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