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Revisiting Rice Bowl II for Tasty Indonesian Cuisine

It's easy for a restaurant to become old news. Case in point: Rice Bowl II, which got some buzz a couple of years back, has fallen a bit off of the radar lately. But just because it's not getting the buzz that it used to doesn't mean that it's not just as good today as it was a couple of years ago, when Robb Walsh went there with his Indonesian friend Ecky Prabanto.

So today, we're revisiting an oldie but a goodie for some Rendang Sapi, those tender, sliceable-with-a-fork chunks of beef slow-cooked in an Indonesian-style curry. One order for $9.99 will get you about six hunks of marbled beef chunks in a sweet-but-spicy, milky, orange-mustard-colored sauce. The Indonesian equivalent to a hearty beef stew, this dish is savory to the hilt.

And if you haven't yet tasted the telor belado, a simple dish of eggs unlike any other you will have tasted, you're missing out. It was number 68 on Robb Walsh's Favorite Dishes list, and it's definitely up there on my own personal favorite list. The flash-fried eggs develop a kind of brownish, weblike film on the outside, giving a chewiness to the egg white, and a generous mound of sweet and sour chili paste transforms the egg while igniting your palate with a bit of spicy fire.

Even their ong choy, or water spinach, sauteed simply with garlic, is a standout. Unlike Vietnamese preparations, they do something to give the vegetables a smokiness. The vegetables are sauteed just-so, so that they're still bright green (they turn dark green when overcooked), with a bite to the stalks.

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True, the neighborhood is a little suspect, and the entrance may scare you (there are white bars on the doors outside). The furnishings are on the okay side of shabby, and the restaurant bills itself as a Chinese Restaurant. But make no mistake, this place makes great Indonesian food, and if you haven't been there in a while, it's worth a revisit. If you haven't been there ever, prepare yourself for a super-tasty quality meal for two, all for less than $30.

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