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Oct 16, 2009 08:49 AM

Ginger Park

Had dinner there last night and at least the room looks much better. 4 of us shared all small plates. Some hits and misses. The hits:papaya salad, and most of the dumpling section(edamame, bbq pork). Would pass on the ribs. Not a big fan of big beef ribs anyhow but sauce(cocoa and peanut??) was nothing special. pin noodles were ok.

Service was friendly and efficient. Prices were reasonable. Menu reads much better than it taste's. I would go back again (in a few months)as I love this type of food and hope that the kitchen continues to get better.

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  1. Agree on all counts. I was not wild about the eggplant side dish (tasting nothing but soy sauce), and the bimbimbap was quite weak (I expect dolsit to have a crunchy crust which was nowhere in evidence, and there was barely any of the advertised pork belly -- it was mostly rice, and bland). But I'm still enjoying the food more than Banq's. Best dish so far is the silver-pin noodle stir-fry.

    11 Replies
    1. re: MC Slim JB

      i like meyers + chang. will ginger park bring me to the opposite side of the south end? the concepts feel very similar.

      1. re: hotoynoodle

        Well, it's more like just down the block, barely five minutes on foot: I think of the opposite side of the South End as, like, Columbus Cafe or Stork Club.

        The ambience of the two are obviously very different, though both are quite loud when packed. Ginger Park has a full bar and a longer wine list. Its small plates are rather larger than Myers + Chang's (and priced higher, so perhaps a wash in terms of value). GP has some Malaysian and Teochew and Indonesian flavors you don't see at M+C. I have friends who might prefer the arty swankness of GP to M+C's young-hip, more casual vibe. Service is quite good, an advantage of keeping most of your FoH team in place during the changeover.

        I'm a big M+C fan, so Ginger Park has a lot to live up to food-wise. M+C's cooking and consistency are far better right now, as you'd expect from a much more seasoned leader/line combination -- there just aren't many weak spots on that menu. Even the side dishes are great. And it does very useful lunch and brunch services. I really like the energy of M+C: it programs better music (or stuff I'm likelier to have on my own iPod, anyway), where GP plays that generic downtempo stuff that every other place seems to run these days. That makes a difference to me.

        What Ginger Park has succeeded in doing so far is address Banq's biggest issues -- improving the flow of the space, doing a much more interesting menu, one worthier of repeat visits -- but that's only the first step. It's got some fine dishes and some weak ones, but they're in what: Week Two? Three? Early diners need to take that into account. If its kitchen can eventually hit the same level of consistency across the menu as M+C, it will get my regular business, but not at the expense of M+C. I want them both to do well!

        1. re: MC Slim JB

          Do they have a fixed price recession combo special similar Banq's CD special? do they have a happy hour special?

          1. re: joebloe

            What's a CD special?

            You'll want to call to check, but I have noticed neither a fixed-price option nor happy hour specials at Ginger Park yet.


            1. re: MC Slim JB

              It's the "Complete Deal" recession special. You choose an appetizer, a main course, and desert for $29.99.

          2. re: MC Slim JB

            any particular dishes you like at M&C? besides the pork belly bun...

            1. re: barleywino

              BW, I really like the Tiger Tears, the great beef salad that I first had at Floating Rock. M&C version uses more veg/beef ratio but a higher quality of beef. Don't misunderstand, I love FR but M&C gives it a run; especially if you ask for spicy.

              M&C version is smaller than FR and costs more; as you'd expect..but if you factor in 4 T tickets to and from Revere it's about the same.

              I need to explore the M&C menu more.


              1. re: 9lives

                i could eat their green papaya salad everyday.

              2. re: barleywino

                Not many I don't like (scallion pancake, fried chicken, and steak frites are some I wouldn't order again). Standouts include: short rib tacos, any of the dumplings, celery/edamame salad, ginger chicken salad, dan dan noodles, mu la lat skewers, tiger's tears, baby octopus, spicy silky tofu, char siu pork, sides of eggplant, Brussels sprouts, and gai lan.

                Also, they do have at least one Indonesian-inspired dish in nasi goreng.


              3. re: MC Slim JB

                agreed banq needed an overhaul in concept and a better floor design. i'm also very sympathetic to a new kitchen team needing training wheels. the place is ahead of the game somewhat if foh is the same. (banq's gm has moved to the new ames hotel project, however)

                the new menu just didn't seem destination worthy for me -- that part of the south end is outside my usual hoofing radius. i like m+c so much (and adore joanne), so i guess i'll just wait a few months for ginger park to shake itself out. if it's the same poseur bar crowd as banq had, i can wait indefinitely.

                thanks for the speedy review, mc.

          3. I was at Ginger Park this past Tuesday. I was never a fan of the food at Banq so am happy that they've changed the menu. There were four of us and we had a sampling of several things; naan flatbread, ribs, banh mi, pork and shrimp dumplings, dan dan noodles and we ended up with the bi bim bap even though we didn't order it. The food was good though no real standouts for me.

            The service was friendly but they kept bringing things that we didn't order to the table and then one or two things we did order went missing but I chalk that up to its newness. The bi bim bap with pork belly was more like fried rice to me and MC Slim is right, it was rather bland.

            I will definitely go back to give this place another try. I can see sitting in the bar area for drinks and maybe some snacks.

            1. Went there a couple of weeks ago, nothing memorable, had some naan flatbread, banh mi, pork and shrimp dumplings, dan dan noodles they mess up our order and gave us bi bim bap. The food was at best average, prices are what you'd expect for that 'hood of Boston. I'm not rushing to go back.

              1 Reply
              1. re: treb

                Went tonight for dinner- agree on all counts- a few good dishes but nothing worth raving about. What really irritated me was the service. Several people standing around watching 2 others do all the work. The bartender brought us a dish. When we realized it was ours and called her back- she told us the chef was trying to send it out to the people next to us and took it away- just seemed a little disjointed. I guess in general I'm just annoyed that really great, hospitable service just doesn't seem consistently available at that price point. I'd take non-foodie out of towners there because the space is still cool.

              2. I know this thread is really old, but I wanted to share our experience last night and didn't feel like starting a whole new post.

                The best part of our meal was the small shot of hot cocoa that came with the check. Seriously.

                The second best part was Donald, our attentive and helpful bartender, who served up four smashing drinks while we waited for a table.

                Then it all went downhill. The food:
                green tea soba noodles: even more mild than normal soba, and rather boring.
                duck meatballs: pretty good, if served lukewarm, which makes me think everything is pre-made, given how quickly they came out of the kitchen.
                shrimp, crab and pork dumplings in sichuan sauce: I only tasted pork, but at least the wrappers were right. I have no idea what the point of having crab & shrimp in there is.
                kim chi pancakes: the batter was still raw when they arrived at the table.

                We were still hungry, but for the life of us we couldn't find Rachel, our server. If we had, we certainly would have ordered more dishes and several more drinks, but by the time she finally did stop by, we were resigned to find more food elsewhere. They're obviously busy, and possibly understaffed, but I'm not entirely certain why it was so packed. It's too bad - the room is gorgeous, but I don't think I'd go again unless for a couple drinks later on once the B&T moms and dads have gone home for the night.

                I've now been to Meyers+Chang, Ginger Park, and East by North East in the past month. There is no reason to return to any but the last, which I plan on doing frequently. You South Enders can keep your fusion places.

                3 Replies
                1. re: gini

                  I ate there on Thursday night and had almost exactly the same experience (but a different server). The bar service was good, the dining service rather poor, and the meatballs lukewarm (I think our server forgot them since they came out way later than the rest of the dishes we ordered, so I just assumed they had been sitting for a while). The hot chocolate was great, the rest of the food so-so compared to expectations. Thursday was not very crowded (the weather may have been a factor here).

                  As a side note, in case Patricia Yao and ownership actually cares at all about this restaurant (my credit card was charged by Banq), PLEASE do something about the service. I cannot stand going to a moderately sophisticated restaurant and, after being asked twice whether I wanted sparkling or still as if tap water didn't exist, being forced to have the menu system explained to me for a few minutes and then spoon fed a couple of dishes they are trying to unload. Small plates have been around for a while now, 10 seconds is all you need to remind me that the dishes aren't big and are meant to be shared.

                  Also, what we were told were really spicy dishes were not. If you're going to make Szechuan cuisine and tell people its spicy, diners expect it to be hot. Please get rid of the chili peppers on the menu, they don't mean anything.

                  I used to love PY's cooking back at AZ; not sure if she just doesn't have her head in the game anymore or what.

                  1. re: JoeM

                    I wouldn't say the menu's "chili" flags for heat are meaningless, but they are inconsistent. The dan-dan mien, a favorite of mine there, has non-trivial heat, but dolsit bibimbap (one of the weaker dishes) is as bland as pablum (and lacks the stone-pot crust I expect, too).

                    The food temperature problem could reflect a kitchen issue (they're preparing dishes mostly or fully in advance, hardly uncommon practice, then not finish-cooking or reheating them properly) or some combination of ineffectual expediting, slow servers, FoH understaffing, etc. But I'm sure hearing a lot of complaints about dining room service these days. I've mostly been eating at the bar there.


                    1. re: JoeM

                      I used to be a big fan of AZ, too, so these reports are discouraging...

                  2. Food temperature management is a serious problem, but not one I've experienced at Ginger Park. I do agree that some dishes could be a little more punchily seasoned. I think your experience underscores my general feeling that prime time on weekends in the South End is not the optimal time to experience most restaurants. I prefer weeknights, and if I must dine out in the neighborhood on Friday or Saturday, it's toward the end of service.


                    4 Replies
                    1. re: MC Slim JB

                      I went to dinner at Orinoco on Friday night and in comparison to Ginger Park their execution was flawless. Doing it right at 9pm on a weekend is much more impressive than doing right on a slow Tuesday. If a restaurant can bring it during prime time, they earn my allegiance forever.

                      1. re: gini

                        I agree that they all should, but in my experience they all don't. It's worse now in the down economy, when even Friday nights don't seem quite as busy as they used to. If you have to dine out on a weekend night, I think Friday is the better bet. Everyone seems to be crowding their dining out into Saturday night, and consequently at some places, the service and kitchen output suffer.

                        I noted this in a piece on my blog ("Support Your Local Restaurant: Dine Out Sunday to Thursday") a year ago, but it definitely seems worse now.


                      2. re: MC Slim JB

                        I'm sorry, that's just silly. A resto that can't handle a Saturday night, I mean really.

                        1. re: StriperGuy

                          I look at it as a matter of practicality. You can say, "Screw that place if it can't handle its peak-period rush as well as slower times", or you can recognize that your optimal experience is to be found on another night or a later hour. I'd rather not write off a place that I know can deliver a good experience some of the time.

                          It's like dining at Coppa or having cocktails at Drink: you can fight the crowds and suffer the consequences, or choose less crazy times. Too bad it's not a perfect world, but I'm making the best of it by picking my spots.