Very mixed Blue Ginger experience
- sushimom Jul 25, 2002 01:29 PM
To add to the Blue Ginger database I can report on our so-so dinner last Saturday night. There were some bright spots, but overall it was disappointing.
My appetizer, the lobster shumai in a pureed pea sauce/soup, was excellent. My husband's seared foie gras was good, but the grilled polenta slabs that came with it tasted like they had been grilled with a Bic lighter. It had a weird butane taste to it, rather than a grilled taste, although the texture was nice. Our appetizers also arrived within about 3 minutes of being ordered, and about 10 minutes before the drinks, which made us feel rushed. My entree was a lovely piece of grilled Alaskan butterfish (no butane taste, just delicious soft, buttery fish), but the accompaniments were so lackluster that I left most on the plate. They included a seaweed salad that tasted "off" - not briny but elderly, wasabi tobiko which I usually love but which was mediocre, and soba maki which consisted of soba noodles wrapped in seaweed and cut into cylinders. As my husband remarked, they would have been adequate as vegetartian mar mitzvah food, but I expected much better. My husband had the well known lobster in black pepper sauce. He loved the sauce, loved the lobster, but thought it was a bad marriage. As someone posted here a while ago, the sauce does dominate the lobster in a big way. But the real problem was that the sauce was full of bits of lobster shell! Not one or two big pieces (the dish was served with a rice-filled lobster body), but there were more than a couple pieces of shell the size of a fingernail or smaller in the sauce. These potential tooth breakers did not add to the dish! My dessert was a keffir lime angelfood cake with sorbet and tropical fruit salsa. It was so-so. The cake was dry and flavorless. I think it needed more sugar to develop that toothsome, soft angelfood texture, and the sorbets were OK but nothing memorable. No keffir lime in sight. My husband had a very nice flourless chocolate cake, so his meal ended on a high note.
Our waitress was extremely efficient at taking our appetizer and entree orders but then disappeared until after a separate waiter had provided us with dessert menus. She never inquired how we liked the food, which was probably a good thing, because the answer might have been that we've certainly had better! I'm afraid that Blue Ginger will not remain on our list of "splurge restaurants".
I had a slightly better experience when I ate at Blue Ginger last year, but I didn't find this place particularly special, considering the prices. It might be due a bit of jadedness on my part, but the flavor combinations for presentation didn't seem that cutting edge to me, even though they worked fairly well. Service was exceptionally attentive then.
Read all your comments with great interest. Based on Ming's cooking shows, I've not been impressed by his take on Asian and fusion food. I know he has to simplify things (dumbing down) for the masses but even then some of the things he says shows his lack of knowledge for SE Asian (particularly Singaporean/Malaysian) cooking. To me, it seems like he has just enough superficial knowledge to impress the average American diner and add the label of 'fusion' to his food. But hounds require much more than that, don't you think ? I remember watching one episode where Madhur Jaffrey (now, SHE knows her stuff) was his guest, and he talked of "May-dras" curry and she had to correct his pronounciation (it's Ma-dras, as in Marine). Not a big thing, but if you set out to be a fusion maven and you are a professional chef, you need to do your research. Hence, I've never felt motivated to check out Blue Ginger and would rather spend my hard-earned $$ on No. 9 Park or L'Espalier.
Don't get me wrong, I like Ming. He s comes across as a nice decent guy, and I remember when he first was on TV, when he was cooking SWestern in ?New Mexico - he was (and still is) a real cutie!