At Harlem’s “FIELDTRIP” Rice Is The Star Of The Show
Harlem’s celebrity chef JJ Johnson has opened a new eatery uptown where the rice takes the center stage.
The humble grain is elevated at “FIELDTRIP,” which showcases how rice has been overlooked, yet remained a staple in countries in the African Diaspora for thousands of years.
FIELDTRIP officially opened for business on July 10, hawking rice bowls that incorporate flavors from places like China, India, South East Asia, the Americas and West Africa.
“Noodle bars have been getting love – why not rice?” Chef Johnson said. “We’re just trying to bring some more respect back to it. I don’t think it’s unfamiliar because we all eat it, but for it to be the center of the show, we haven’t seen that.”
The restaurant serves rice bowls topped with ingredients like braised beef, spicy black beans and turmeric yogurt or salmon, pineapple and edamame topped with Piri Piri sauce. The bowls range in price from $8.99 to $11.99 and there’s a half-price option for kids.
The mains are paired with inventive sides like crab pockets (fried dumplings filled with crab and garlic herb cream cheese) and there’s a dairy-free rice milk hibiscus raspberry ice cream for dessert.
Field Trip is housed in a historic building on Lenox Avenue, and its exposed brick and a stripped back aesthetic gives the place an almost industrial feel. And it’s playlist features only Harlem-born artists.
Chef Johnson said that he grew up eating rice, and got the idea for his restaurant after traveling the world as a young chef and seeing how other cultures incorporated the grain into their dishes. He said his rice varieties are freshly milled heirlooms that aren’t bleached or enriched.
The rice-forward concept went over well with customer Marita Monroe, who lives a block away, gave “Field Trip” two thumbs up.
“Finally, the community has a place to feel welcome,” Monroe said. “It’s not intimidating. And the pricing is great.”
“FIELDTRIP” is located at 109 Lenox Ave. in New York City.