Sunday, April 6, 2008

East Meets West in Idyllic Boston Suburb

Being on TV doesn't necessarily make someone a good cook, and many of the best chefs in the country never show up on TV - they're too busy cooking. Nevertheless, there's something really exciting about going to a celebrity chef's restaurant, and Ming Tsai has been doing the TV chef thing for a long long time. I had been wanting to eat at his restaurant, Blue Ginger, for quite some time, but because a) it's way out in Wellesley and b) it's super pricey I kept putting it off. A couple weeks ago, Liane and Josh invited Abby and I out to Blue Ginger, so that gave us the perfect opportunity. We had the good fortune to show up on a night when he was at the restaurant.
One of the nice things about going to a good restaurant with a few other people, aside from the company, is that you get to try out tons of different dishes. We must have ordered over half of the appetizer menu. Everyone's favorite was the foie-gras shiitake shumai (pictured below, with Josh in the background)
We also ordered calamari with a thai dipping sauce, poke with a crispy sushi rice cake, tea-smoked salmon and beef carpaccio, and shiitake-leek spring rolls.
In our group rankings of what we liked and didn't like, the poke and carpaccio came in second and third after the shumai. The crispy rice cake on the poke (not pictured) added some nice texture. The calamari and spring rolls came in last. They were good, but not really that distinct. When you go to a restaurant like this that charges $12 for two spring rolls, you expect something different.

For the entree, Liane and Abby ordered the garlic-black pepper lobster with lemon grass fried rice. This dish was superb.
Josh ordered poussin with a tamarind-hoisin sauce. I didn't hear rave reviews, so the impression I got was that it was good, but not the best dish ever to come in front of him.
I ordered the Japanese braised pork osso bucco. This dish was OK, but I wouldn't order it again.
After all of the appetizers and some fairly large entrees, we were all pretty stuffed, but you can always find a little more room for dessert. We ordered a grapefruit-mascarpone torte and coconut donuts with kiwi sorbet...both great, light desserts.
My final verdict on this restaurant is that, while I thought it was good, it wasn't quite up to the level, both in terms of food and decor, of some of the other celebrity owned restaurants I've tried out...notably Nobu and Morimoto's. For those of you familiar with DC, I would say that it is like a slightly more expensive version of Ten Penh.

One bonus from going to this restaurant is that it reminded me that I have a Ming Tsai cookbook sitting on my shelf. While I didn't think that this was the best restaurant ever, I do really like this type of food, so I may start cooking some of his recipes over the next few weeks.

1 comment:

Derrick said...

You two have a food blog and you never shared it with me? Man... you realize you provided me with a week of entertainment/reading/picture viewing to do... along with probably a few months of recipes to try!

Good luck with the wedding planning!