On Wednesday, February 1st we attended the Friends and Family Menu Tasting at the newly opened Broken Rice located at 1390 S. Colorado Blvd. The fast casual eatery hosts a menu of food offerings inspired by various countries in Asia. A diverse range of items with origins in Vietnamese, Thai, and Chinese cooking. The space was light and open. We were greeted immediately and informed of the ordering process.
We placed our orders, filled our drinks and took a seat at our assigned table. We were given an indicator with a number on it to identify our table number. It was quite a wait before we got our first dish. So much so that we were given an additional starter in the meantime. The Tuna Poke came packed with citrus ponzu, avocado, sweet cucumbers in a spicy Japanese sauce with wonton crisps. Though the tuna wasn’t sushi grade, it was a very flavorful dish. The wonton crisps were a perfect compliment for the poke.
Some more time passed and we were finally served our original starter the potstickers. This was my favorite item of the meal. These steamed then pan seared dumplings were filled with chicken accompanied by ginger soy vinaigrette.
After a few mix ups with our main entrees with were finally delivered the main course of the Curry Broken Rice Bowl and the Crispy Beef Broken Rice Bowl. Overall, these two items were a disappointment for different reasons. The Curry Broken Rice Bowl incorporated overly grilled chicken, sugar snap peas, onions, tofu, carrots and sweet potatoes and baby corn in what is described as coconut curry on a bed of “Broken Rice.” The coconut curry tasted like dry curry powder. There was no actual flavor to the dish. The rice was the same, undercooked and flavorless. There was not excess sauce to even attempt to flavor the plain white rice.
The Crispy Beef Broken Rice Bowl was overly salted. Crispy flank steak, chili pepper, sugar snap peas, red bell pepper in a sweet and spicy sauce. Though this item was aesthetically pleasing to look at, that’s where the positive stops. The bed of rice has the same issue as the first item, no flavor whatsoever. Overall, the main dishes failed miserably. Unfortunately, though either of us had barely touched our food, there was no attentiveness of the staff to ask how we were enjoying our food or if we needed further assistance.
That was a common theme throughout the dining service. There seemed to be too many staff members, and the abundance of them looked to cause some confusion. On two occasions we were delivered the incorrect food and were not asked how our experience was going throughout the meal. Even to the point that we weren’t served our dessert that was offered within the Friends and Family Menu. We left an hour later still a bit hungry and underwhelmed. At that time most of the staff was sitting in the main dining room on their cell phones. The manager was standing near the main door as we exited. She inquired about our meal, we replied with little enthusiasm, to which she replied, “ That’s good to know for next time.” She failed to ask us to elaborate or offer any type of resolution. Besides explaining the ordering process, we had not seen her throughout the entire dining process.
Soft openings and menu tastings are a wonderful opportunity to introduce your brand, works through kinks on an operational end and receive feedback from guests. I would say Broken Rice failed to truly engage their audience at this specific dining event. I would not classify this visit a success, and besides the potstickers, there was nothing that would draw me to make a return visit. The concept is a bit generic and the food offerings do not pack a flavorful punch. The geographical location is welcoming of this type of fast casual concept, but with so much competition in the area I’d be invested to see if the concept picks up steam. For more information on Broken Rice visit their website,http://enjoybrokenrice.com/ or stop by to give the menu a try for yourself.