Ris Opens Stall at Union Market
Ris at Union Market, a stall from the west end’s Ris restaurant opened last Thursday at the market located at 1309 Fifth St. NE near the NoMa/Gallaudet Metro station. The stall had originally been planned to open in November.
The tiny stall — with some of the smallest professional kitchen equipment I’ve ever seen like a two-burner stove and baby grill — offers “Ris Bowls,” a selection of soups ($5), hot dishes ($12), salads ($9) and kids’ meals ($6) that will rotate on a weekly basis. Add chicken to the salads for $4 more or shrimp for another $5. You can also purchase egg or chicken salad to eat there on potato rolls or take home.
This week’s opening week menu includes cream of tomato soup, Jamaican curried goat stew, tortilla salad and macaroni and cheese kid’s bowl. There is also special of the day Thursday through Sunday. Thursday is grilled cheese of the day, Friday is New England clam chowder and Saturday and Sunday are breakfast burritos.
Next week the specials include potato leek soup, venison chili, green papaya and rice noodle salad and grilled cheese for the kids. Specials the week of Jan. 28-Feb. 2 include sweet potato bourbon soup, pork posole with chilies, kale and endive salad, and spaghetti and meatball for the kids. Finally, the week of Feb. 4-9, they will be serving up carrot ginger soup, Cajun gumbo, classic cobb salad or an all-beef hot dog for the kids.
During a media preview on Friday, I got to sample several of the dishes including the tomato soup, clam chowder, and mac and cheese. It was all tasty, but nothing that I would make a trip for. Even the goat stew served over rice and beans with its curry, kale and spicy peanuts was better than I had expected since I’m not a fan of goat.
The star of the stall
But when I got home and unpacked my goody bag, I found the real stars of Ris at Union Market. The staff including manager Allison Cortese had saved the best for last.
What will keep me going back is the stall’s larder of staples for any chef or home cook: stocks, sauces, vinaigrettes, soups, prepared foods and baked goods. Customers can use these items as the basis to create their own gourmet meals at home without all the time and work. But be warned, the servings are smalls and the prices are high.
Shoppers can pick up braised lamb shanks ($16), half a dozen meatballs ($10) or duck leg confit ($8), stocks including veal, chicken, fish and vegetable ($6 except for the veal, which is $8), tomato eggplant sauce ($6), and lamb and steak sauce ($12). There is also onion jam featured in the restaurant and pickles and marinated beets (all $5). The stall also has the best champagne vinaigrette I’ve tasted along with miso and sherry shallot vinaigrettes (all $5), and parmesan toasts and fennel crisps ($4) to take home.
There is also individual chicken pot pie ($9), a selection of hand pies ($4) each including quiche Lorraine, mushroom and leek quiche, French Canadian meat pie or sweet pies including cherry, blueberry and chocolate pecan, which is to die-for. They also have sinful chocolate macaroons ($8 for 12 or $5 for six) and butterscotch pudding cups ($5).
Ris at Union Market is located beside Buffalo & Bergen and across the aisle from Righteous Cheese. The stall is open Tuesday-Friday from 11 a.m.-7 p.m. and weekends from 10 a.m.-7 p.m.