By BILL RODRIGUEZ  |  December 30, 2009

The visual component of my dish was even more striking, starting with tall black strands piercing pansy petals. I was pleased enough to not mind that the accompaniment described on the menu, sautéed pumpkin and sweet potatoes, had been replaced. My sesame-crusted ahi tuna steak ($28) was perched instead atop a slice of grilled pineapple, which covered a small bowl of sweet corn. Those slivers of vegetables and mushrooms were on my plate, too. We also ordered a side of tasty Thai black rice ($5), which distinguished itself from the Korean black rice accompanying some dishes by being slightly citrus sweet rather than spicy hot. The accompanying sweet chili sauce and flavorful miso sauce both went well with the rare tuna.

As for the desserts, save room. And good luck choosing from among the dozen. The dark chocolate gelato ($6) and the lychee sorbet ($8) are good, but the tempura banana à la mode ($7) is simply wonderful, a hot and cold taste delight.

Owner-host Benjamin Qian and chef Steven Lee have done well. Who says that rice has to be white or hand rolls boring?

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