If you’re looking for Nemo, you’ll find him on the menu at the newly opened Mr. Rice in Westwood Village. Hot pots and Yun Nan mixian noodles are the featured items here, with Peanut and “Nemo” available as a side.
The old Falafel King has been given a much-needed makeover, giving the space a much brighter and open feel. The actual cooking area is out front in an open kitchen, behind the counter where you place your order.
Although the name is Mr. Rice, Yunnan rice noodles (mixian) are the largest menu category. Since I can’t handle spicy, I ordered the Special Yunnan Mixian.
I have never heard of Yunnan noodles before, and after trying them, I can see why. The noodles are bland and unremarkable, lacking any sort of bite. As for toppings, it almost seemed like I got the remaining bits of a previous serving – some pork crumbles, a few pieces of bok choy, a couple of tofu skins, bits of tomato and a pinch of pickled vegetables. The quail egg was the only thing that reassured me that it wasn’t just leftovers. On a positive note, the noodle portion was HUGE, though it needed more stuff to make it more flavorful.
The fresh veggies hot pot made for a bigger impact, especially since my husband ordered it medium spicy. It was filled with nappa cabbage, bok choy, assorted mushrooms (wood ear, enoki and white), tofu, tofu skin, a piece corn on the cob and yet another quail egg, with a side of rice. (Note: the broth is not vegetarian.)
Even though Westwood was pretty deserted during the winter break, Mr. Rice still managed to attract a steady stream of customers. By the time we finished, every table had been filled, with people waiting for a spot to sit.
Judging by the other tables, I think I probably ordered the wrong dish, as the noodles that I saw looked a lot more appetizing than mine. The hot pots were also quite popular, though I noticed that maybe due to the size, people were unable to finish meal.
On a cold day, a spicy hot pot or bowl of noodles at Mr. Rice would be the perfect way to keep you warm – with or without Nemo.
Location – 1010 Broxton Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90024
Website – n/a
Kid’s Menu – No
Gluten-Free Options – Yes