Far too often, rice pudding gets overlooked, deemed nursing home food not fit for anyone with functioning teeth. This reputation is unfortunate and undeserved. I've always had a soft spot in my heart for rice pudding. I'll admit the first time I saw it in a container in our refrigerator when I was young, I was weirded out. My dad loved it, and once I finally got over the idea of a pudding made with rice, I discovered that goddamn I love it. And why not? It's simply a custardy sweet pudding studded with tender, plump grains of rice, oftentimes flecked with cinnamon and raisins. It's almost like a sweet breakfast porridge. Nowadays, it's still rare to find rice pudding on restaurant menus, which is why I was pleasantly surprised to see it at spankin' new Dillman's The new Chicago restaurant. After a recent lunch at the sprawling restaurant, the rice pudding turned out to be the highlight of the meal.
The rice pudding at Dillman's is not anything outre or contemporary, just a classic preparation of a classic dessert. The texture of the pudding is perfectly silky and rich, each bite absolutely brimming with rice. True to form, an ample dosage of cinnamon is sprinkled on top and the pudding is dotted with juicy raisins, providing a splash of fruity flavor throughout. Served in a sundae glass, even the presentation looks nostalgic. This isn't a reinvention of the rice pudding wheel, but an apt homage to a deserving classic.
(Rice pudding and chocolate cream pie at Dillman's)