Chicago’s culinary scene has reached an all time high making it one of the best cities to experience great food in the entire world. Austin undoubtedly has my heart, but Chicago has always been on my short list of my favorite culinary destinations.
In perhaps one of the most adventurous dinning journeys I’ve experienced in recent years, Fat Rice is undoubtedly one of the most progressive restaurants in the city. I’ll even go as far to say that the constantly‑packed, hot spot in historic Logan Square may be one of the most unique dinning adventures you will experience anywhere in the world.
I realize that might be a bold statement, but I’m pretty sure there are no other restaurants in the world that boast a concept as unique as Fat Rice. The moment you savor the incredible Portuguese and Asian fusion cuisine created by Chef and owner Abe Conlon, you may want to live in Chicago permanently.
The restaurant provides an exotic dinning arrangement unlike anything you’ll find among common Asian restaurants. Inside features a dark and intimate environment filled with a lively, engaged crowd and service team, similar to the neighborhood it calls home. The restaurant sits in a historic, small corner space that was once home to a bakery and a neighborhood bar which is now filled with communal tables and an inviting bar that faces the open kitchen.
Service is outstanding and very accommodating despite the tight quarters and a busy kitchen. The wait is typically a bit long, but most will comfortably wait it out in the lounge next door, where craft cocktails and small appetizers are served.
The menu boats an abundance of ethnic flavors influenced from Southeast Asia, India and Portugal. You’ll see a few traits of common Asian flare noted, but their true uniqueness is in their namesake and signature dish, arroz gordo. This abundantly large dish is filled with layers of protein heaven as it’s stacked into a clay bowl, piled with food treasures of a paella-like bottom layer of jasmine rice, topped with prawns, clams, Portuguese sausage, marinated chicken thighs, tea eggs, pickled rasins, and sweet and spicy peppers.
I highly recommend you prepare yourself and your appetite as this a shared dish is most sufficient for 3-4 diners. The prodigious mix of proteins will likely force you to loosen your belt, as the sheer abundance and weight of the bowl lands on your table. It’s quite a bit of food, but it’s ethnic cuisine that’s been curated to its paramount.
Forget everything you think you know about any other ethnic cuisine you’ve experienced in the past. Fat Rice restaurant is for those who yearn for a globe-trotting savoir-faire, with an appetite for an exotic new adventure that is not lost dinning. If you’re planning a visit to the great city of Chicago, take an extra leap over to Logan Square for the culinary adventures of Fat Rice.
What to Order
Portuguese country sausage, chili cabbage, ginger, and olives.
Stuffed with pork – shrimp – dill – black vinegar dipping sauce.
Balichang Tamarindo $16
Braised sweet & sour pork belly, tamarind, pineapple, chicharrones.
Arroz Gordo $42
“substantial rice” is the celebratory dish of macau. reminiscent of paella, arroz gordo is a bountiful, home-style, layered rice dish usually prepared for family and friends on special occasions. Jasmine rice laced with sofrito, chinese sausage, salted duck and topped with portuguese chicken thighs, char sui pork, linguiça sausage, fatty prawns, clams, tea eggs, croutons, assorted pickles and sauces.