This dish has me at the sprouts, fried until they’re splayed like flowers in bloom. The cauliflower too, is remarkable—browned on the outside, almost creamy inside. All of this lovely cruciferousness is practically caramelized; it’s definitely sweet, which is why the nuoc cham swoops in, countering that sugar with a wonderful hit of fishy acid. It bathes every bite and it’s divine.
But wait, there’s more! There are crunchy, aromatic scallions and bits of herb that scent some mouthfuls with bright basil, others with zingy mint. All of this (and it’s a lot for $6!) is heaped onto a cozy mound of slightly sticky jasmine rice.
When those drafts return this winter, I will no longer yearn for a peat-burning fireplace but only for this dish.
Steinbeck's Ale House,
659 East Lake Drive, Decatur. 404-373-1116, steinbecksbar.com.
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