Smile Politely

The curry flight at Sticky Rice is cozy and delicious

Looking down at sticky rice's restaurant week menu. A flight of three different curries in white bowls on a white plate with black plastic soup spoons in each. there are two small plates with a mound of white rice and.a small plate with sauces, lime, basil, and sprouts. On the upper left side of the picture is a Thai iced coffee.
Louise Knight-Gibson

For my first ever Restaurant Week article, I decided on Sticky Rice in Downtown Champaign. Partially because I’ve never been there before and also because I’ve been a vegetarian for a little while now, and their RW menu has a flight of three delicious curry options. I loved this because getting to try multiple food options is the best. My youngest daughter was my date, and we both loved the idea that we would be playing restaurant writers for the day. 

Louise Knight-Gibson

We arrived a little after the lunch hour rush, and the server told us to pick a seat. The window tables were full, so we decided to sit at the bar. We were given water, regular menus, and the RW menu. The special this year is a curry flight for two for $33. Diners pick three of five curry options (red curry, green curry, Mussamun Curry, Panang Curry, and yellow curry), and the meal also includes steamed rice, sticky rice, and two drinks (Thai tea, Thai coffee, or one of each). 

I chose the red, Panang, and yellow curries and both the iced Thai tea and coffee. 

Louise Knight-Gibson

My drinks came first and won an audible “ooooh” from me and my daughter. The milk and cream was poured over the drinks right before they brought them out, which createed a fun effect as the drinks swirled in tall glasses. The Thai coffee (left) had a great coffee flavor, and although there was no mention of chocolate in the drink, it gave off a distinct mocha flavor to me, and it was delicious. The Thai tea (right) was cold, sweet, and smooth. The layers of flavor made it really enjoyable to drink, and both of them were a great contrast to the spicy curries. 

Louise Knight-Gibson

I loved the presentation of the curries. There was steamed rice, sticky rice, and a whole plate of curry accompaniments which had three sauces, lime, sprouts, peppers and basil all of which added flavor and texture to the curries. I listened to my mentor (and SP food editor) Alyssa, and let my camera “eat” first. Then I dove in. I tried them in order from left to right.

Louise Knight-Gibson

The first one I tried was the red curry. The menu described it as having thin bamboo shoots, sliced eggplant, green beans, and basil mixed in a coconut broth combined with spicy red curry paste. This one was not my favorite as the green bean flavor was very strong and unfortunately masked all of the other flavors. I did like the texture from the bamboo shoots and eggplant, but I wouldn’t get this one again. 

Louise Knight-Gibson

The second one was the Panang Curry, a sweet panang curry paste combined with coconut milk. This one had broccoli and carrots, and it was so delicious. The spices were just strong enough to give the curry a pleasant warming sensation that I can only describe as cozy. I loved this one. 

Louise Knight-Gibson

The third one was the yellow curry, potatoes, and onions mixed in a coconut broth combined with a sweet yellow curry paste. The potatoes in this dish were cooked perfectly, and the onions retained a bit of crunch and balanced the sweetness in the dish. This one was filling, made me feel warm, and was honestly the perfect thing to eat on a chilly winter day. 

These specials (and all Restaurant Week 2024 specials) are available only through Saturday, February 3rd.

Sticky Rice
415 N Neil St
M 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
W-Sa 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Su noon to 9 p.m.

Culture Editor

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