Thrive catered my wedding. That's not so much a disclosure—we're not friends with the owners and we paid the going rate—as it is an endorsement. Because if Thrive, which just opened its first stationary cart on Southeast Hawthorne Boulevard, is good enough to serve everyone I love on a very special day, yeah, I probably think it's good enough to fuel your trip to Freddy's to replace the 9-volt battery in the smoke detector that's been beeping and beeping and beeping.

As wedding food, Thrive's rice bowls are admittedly kind of weird: the flower girl deemed it "gross" and one bridesmaid stopped after a forkful. But it proved a popular and affordable choice with those exceptions—oh, and also the vegetarian standup bass player of Lost Creek Bluegrass band, subject of a profile in next week's paper, who was left hungry after one of my omnivorous co-workers devoured his Kashmir tempeh bowl.

Thrive makes light but satisfying fare that's loud in flavor and widely customizable. It starts with a base of plump brown rice in 12-ounce ($7) or 16-ounce ($7) bowls. You then upgrade to either tempeh ($1), chicken ($2) or steak ($3). Each of those proteins does what's asked of it—the tempeh has the pleasant consistency of an underbaked brownie, the chicken is lean and eager for sauce, and steak speaks louder than everything around it.

Bowls come in a World Market-esque assortment of popular, vaguely ethnic flavors. The Kashmir bowl has a yogurt-curry sauce with a generous pile of fresh basil and cashews. The Thai bowl has cilantro sprigs, peanuts and a coconut sauce. The Japanese bowl has sesame seeds, seaweed and tamari sauce. Argentinian has piquant chimichurri, leafy greens and sliced zucchini. The Mexican bowl has tomatillo, black beans, avocado and a creamy lime sauce. The Argentinian bowl with steak is my favorite; my wife prefers the Kashmir bowl with tempeh. And for you: beef, chicken or vegetarian? Check one, please.

  • Order this: Argentinian bowl with steak and a mean chimichurri ($10).
  • I’ll pass: The Japanese bowl is boring. 

EAT: Thrive, Southeast 32nd Avenue and Hawthorne Boulevard, 11 am-3 pm Wednesday-Sunday. $.