Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Blue Ginger

When we went to Boston recently we booked our flights around when we could get reservations at Blue Ginger in Wellesley, MA. Blue Ginger is the restaurant of Ming Tsai, a chef of Chinese descent who grew up in Dayton, OH cooking with his parents in their restaurant. Ming is best known for his show East Meets West on Food Network, as well as Simply Ming on Public Television.

I started off with a peach Manhattan, and Myron had a house special concoction I didn't write down. :-( Both were excellent, and I'm now on a mission to find a good peach liqueur so I can recreate the Manhattan.

When we finally had to make decisions from the menu we were seriously torn. We wanted one of each! For appetizers we finally we settled on the tuna poke, which was sublime, and the foie gras shui mai. The shui mai were tasty but the dumpling wrappers were rubbery, gummy and sticky all at the same time. The sauternes and shiitake broth they were served with was an amazing combination of flavors.

I selected the Chile Tea Rubbed Duck Breast with Fresh Plum Sauce and Peach Teriyaki as my entree and Myron had the Sake-Miso Marinated Alaskan Butterfish, which is one of Ming's signature dishes. My duck was rubbed with smoked paprika, cayenne, and sugar and served with a johnny cake topped with duck leg confit and a small bed of baby watercress. It was served a perfect medium rare, and the flavors exploded. My mouth was tingling nicely all the way through dinner. The duck confit and the johnnycake could have stood up on their own as an appetizer. The confit was meltingly succulent, the johnnycake had a firm texture and a wonderful corn flavor.

Myron's butterfish was cooked to perfection, and the delicate flavors all balanced well. Everything on the plate enhanced the flavor in a delightful way. The soba noodle sushi was very tasty, but the texture of the nori was an odd counterpoint to the butterfish.

The wine list was relatively small at seven pages and still managed to offer a lot of variety. The prices, though, where astronomical. Wines I can buy for $10 were priced over $50. Wines I had purchased in other fine dining restaurants for $45 were $80 here. I expected it to be expensive, but that was just absurd. We opted for a glass of wine each and were pleasantly surprised when we were given a small decanter that contained enough to fill each of our glasses twice. I chose the d'Arenberg Shiraz, Myron had the Fairview Sauvignon Blanc. Both were delicious and paired well with our main courses.

The food at Blue Ginger is absolutely sublime and rivals the finest restaurants I have been to anywhere in the world. However the decor leaves a lot to be desired. The restaurant is located in a converted retail space in a section of storefronts in Wellesley, MA, about 20 minutes from Boston. When you walk in the open kitchen is to your right, down the length of the restaurant, and a small bar area is to your left. The first thing that struck me were the support columns. The columns are built out about 3 food square and trimmed in light blonde wood. The tops angle out, making them look like inverted coat racks. The white and light colored wood is repeated throughout the restaurant. The floor is covered in nondescript institutional vinyl tile. With all the surfaces being so hard, and the kitchen open to the dining room, the result is an extremely noisy environment.

The odd decor and the noise were our only complaints about Blue Ginger. Dinner for two was pretty pricey and I expected something a little nicer than what Blue Ginger offered. I'm glad I had the experience, but I'm not sure I'd go back.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for posting. I haven't been to Blue Ginger but they make great frozen Asian food, available near us at least only at SuperTarget.

    These main courses sound like the kind of high-end, top quality dishes you would expect for a celebrity chef's restaurant. I'm glad the food worked out so well.

    Decor... I'm not surprised given how far outside of Boston it is. There are some really really nice restaurant settings in the city, but once you get beyond 128, things seem to really drop off.