Over Rice is bringing the first mochi doughnuts to Ellicott City.
Combining the bouncy and chewy texture of mochi — a Japanese rice cake — and the fresh flavor of poke, the new restaurant in the Forest Green shopping center off Route 40 brings the taste of Japan and Hawaii to the community.
Putting a twist on the traditional treat, mochi doughnuts come in an eight-ball ring shape, while poke, the dish after which the restaurant was named, serves fresh diced raw fish and vegetables over rice.
Inspired by their Japanese and Korean heritages, co-owners Emily Kim and Tomo Kora worked together to bring the restaurant to their community.
“I used to work in New York and I would always see all these different cuisines that were available, but back in [Ellicott City] there would be very limited choices,” Kim said. “We wanted to go ahead and bring new cuisines to Ellicott City and something that we really enjoyed was poke and doughnuts, so that’s what we kind of settled upon.”
The doughnuts come in six flavors: blueberry, cookies and cream, everything bagel, matcha, original glazed and yuzu, a citrus fruit that can be found in Japan.
Over Rice held a soft opening in late July and is planning a grand opening Saturday.
Kora said the restaurant is looking to keep the community coming back by adding new flavors to the menu every two weeks.
“You won’t be able to go back to eating regular doughnuts after eating these,” Kora said.
Poke features fish, but if customers are looking for a nonmeat option, Over Rice also has “vulgogi,” a vegan plant-based version of the classic Korean dish bulgogi. There’s also a wide selection of sauces and toppings for the poke bowls.
The restaurant, at 10039 Baltimore National Pike, Suite B, is open daily from 11:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. It takes over the spot previously occupied by Sizzle Kabob and is situated between Zen Garden and River House Pizza Co. in the shopping center.
Kim, who lives in Hanover but grew up in Ellicott City, said the restaurant differs from other restaurants in the area due its eclectic cuisine options.
“In terms of the items that we carry, it’s very unique and new,” Kim said. “The product itself stands out the most among the other restaurants right now.”
Kim said she hopes the restaurant will add variety to the community.
“In [many] restaurants, things are similar and there’s no type of new cuisines [being] introduced to our customers,” Kim said. “We want to pioneer having those new cuisines to have people enjoy in the area.”