Dinner at Blue Ginger
Since our stay in Boston was short, we only had time to squeeze in one more dinner before returning to Chicago. Win surprised me by making a reservation at Blue Ginger. Blue Ginger is Ming Tsai's restaurant and it's located in Wellesley, MA. Tsai was recognized by The James Beard Foundation as 2002 Best Chef Northeast and Blue Ginger has received numerous accolades from Zagat, Boston Magazine, Esquire and many other publications. This would be our fourth time dining at Blue Ginger and I was excited for the opportunity.
Blue Ginger serves an "East Meets West" fusion menu very similar in style to the cuisine Ming Tsai prepares on his various television shows. Every time we've eaten at Blue Ginger the food has been outstanding and since the menu changes frequently you'll always find something new and interesting to try. Of the four times we've been there, we had the opportunity to see Tsai in action once. He was working hard, expediting orders in front of their open kitchen (see photo above of kitchen). On this visit, we apparently missed him by just a few minutes, as he left for the night at 9:30pm and we had a 9:45pm reservation.
Of the 11 appetizer offerings on the menu, I was seriously intrigued by 9 of them. Win was in the same boat, so this made appetizer selection a bit tricky. Win opted for the crispy fried calamari with thai dipping sauce and I selected the shiitake-leek springrolls with three chile dipping sauce. Both were delicious with very interesting flavors and textures.
As my entree, I ordered Garlic-Black Pepper Lobster with Lemongrass Fried Rice and Pea Tendril Salad (pictured above). After I decided on my dish, I announced it to Win and then realized I had unknowingly selected the most expensive dish on the menu. I wasn't a cheap date that night, but this exquisite lobster was worth it. Beautifully presented, the lobster had a distinct flavor of garlic and black pepper...just the right amount to be flavorful but not overpowering. The lemongrass fried rice was beyond good. I love the taste of lemongrass and to have that scent and flavor combined with fried rice was just amazing. The pea tendril salad added a nice additional texture, color and palate cleansing flavor to the plate too.
Win selected the Pan Seared Sea Scallops with Sweet Corn-Lemongrass Sauce, Koshi-Hikari Miso Risotto and Heirloom Tomato Salsa (pictured above). He loved every bite and I found the risotto to be especially intriguing, with its mushroom and miso flavor.
We were certainly full after these two courses, but the dessert menu was too spectacular to pass up. Everything on it looked appealing and unique, but my eye was drawn to the Star Anise Infused Peach Cobbler. What a treat! The peach cobbler was served warm with homemade vanilla ice cream on top. What I loved about this cobbler was that you really tasted the star anise flavor. So often chefs will concoct creations and give them fancy names listing what the dish is infused with and yet that flavor is practically undetectable. In this case, the star anise added such a wonderful complexity to the cobbler. Next to the cobbler was a stuffed plum with apricot-ginger compote. This little side treat was delectable. The plum and compote combination was otherworldly.
Win felt more full than I did, so he opted for a more simple dessert. He got the Blue Ginger Ice Cream with Almond Cone. It included tahitian vanilla bean, milk chocolate and sesame nougat ice cream. Extremely high quality ingredients and delicious taste. As good as it was, I didn't take a photo of it because after all it was just a dish of ice cream.
Blue Ginger's decor is lovely and the atmosphere appealing, perhaps because it was designed with the help of a Feng Shui Master. The one odd observation I had was that some of the clientele at Blue Ginger weren't dressed very well this time. In the past, we've noticed most patrons wearing business casual or perhaps even more formal attire. This time out, we both agreed that several diners didn't just look casual, but their look bordered on sloppy. I'm not a fashion critic or a clothes snob, but the difference in people's attire since my last visit did strike me. As did a little sign in the ladies room next to a beautiful orchid. While standing at the sink, I noticed the gorgeous orchid on the vanity and the small sign next to it. Upon further examination of the sign I saw that it said something like "Ladies, this lovely live orchid is here for all to enjoy. Please don't pick its flowers." How sad that people need to be told not to pick flowers off a ladies room orchid. So, people, show Ming some respect when you go to Blue Ginger: dress up a little, keep your hands off the orchids in the bathroom, and enjoy a wonderful dining experience.
Dinner at Blue Ginger was a perfect way to cap off our weekend in Boston. Now that we're back I'll be posting more about Chicago restaurants and our own home cooking again soon.