The newest downtown Fort Lauderdale eatery, Rice and Dough, finally opened its doors to diners Saturday evening for a Soft Opening party. The restaurant can be described as a raw bar meets wine bar with a menu covering Italian basics as well as sushi. It quite literally appears to offer something for everyone. Although the official menu was not available for the soft opening party, an abridged menu was available on Saturday evening with a thorough offering of pizzas, Italian sandwiches and salads, meatballs, sushi, and raw bar.
Admittedly, the Italian meets Japanese concept is strange. However, the waiters seemed to hit the nail on the head when describing a happy compromise between diners with a craving for raw fish accompanied by friends who have a taste for Italian food. If it's a glass of wine that you're seeking, Rice and Dough offers a thorough wine selection as well.
The hearty sampling of veal meatballs, margherita pizzas, sushi rolls, wine and beer offered curious diners a view into what can be expected once the restaurant opens its doors for official business this week. If this restaurant can serve up fair that is consistently as delicious as the veal meatballs on hand Saturday night, then Rice and Dough will most definitely be the newest hot spot in downtown Las Olas. The pizzas on hand weren't too shabby either, with a flavorful sauce to comliment the saltiness of the cheese. Their sushi rolls seemed standard, although not entirely creative or unique. However, with the lack of any moderately priced sit down sushi restaurants in the neighborhood, Rice and Dough does fill a particular void.
The friendly service, along with tasty food will keep people coming back. However, the trendy decor is reminescent of a flashy Vegas eatery, and some may feel the restaurant is a little too flashy for the neighborhood vibe for which Rice and Dough seems to be clamoring. Sandwiched between several high rise condominium and apartment complexes, Rice and Dough is in the perfect location to capture a regular clientele. Let's just hope the residents in downtown Fort Lauderdale can warm up to the strange concept.