On The Menu

Blue Ginger


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Ah, Blue Ginger. Chef Ming Tsai's only restaurant.

February 10th...Abby and mine anniversary of when we became officially a couple. On our first year anniversary, we went to Blue Ginger only to find out that February 10th is also Blue Ginger's anniversary. How ironic! (That's not ironic, that's coincidental!) So we made a pact that every year on February 10th, we will come back to Blue Ginger.

We totally thought nothing could top last year's meal, we were able to meet and take a picture with the head chef himself. Oh how we were soooooo wrong!

The night started out on a little bit of a sour note. I hate being carded (or ID'ed as some people call it) in general, but being asked at a nice restaurant where we are nicely dressed makes me feel like some punk kids going out for the prom and trying to order booze. Seriously, I'm pushing 30...it's a Tuesday night, I really don't feel like I should be getting carded. Abby doesn't care. She likes feeling that she looks younger than she is. I don't. But the waiter, albeit a little awkward at times, was very nice and very energetic. So we ordered a couple of drinks and look over the menu. I have been dying to try the butterfish that I've heard so much about, and would like to start with the carpaccio appetizer that I've gotten the last two years. However, I noticed the chef's tasting menu and I wanted to know what was on that. The waiter said it was a 5 course tasting that includes the butterfish and a surf and turf dish...I told him to stop, he got me hook line and sinker. I'm in. He repeats that it's $80, which I kind of take that he doesn't think I can afford this...but he probably wasn't implying that at all. (I had a rough day at work, with co-workers calling me all throughout dinner so I wasn't really as cordial as I should have been, so I was taking things a little too personal. All on me, not a reflection of the service at Blue Ginger at all.) Since everyone at the table has to order the chef's tasting menu as well, Abby was in too.

We started with an amuse of Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup. OH! MY! GOD!!!! Next to pho, I think this little dish would be what I want to eat on a cold day in Boston. I hate the term "comfort food", but this was the most perfect definition of that term ever. Abby mentioned throughout this meal how she was getting "Ratatouille" moments and I knew exactly what she meant. In the Pixar movie, Anton Ego, the famous food critic, took one bite of the simple peasant dish and was brought back to memories of when his mom made it. Food does indeed have such powers that it can make one recall distant memories. For Abby, it reminded her of her grandmother's grilled cheese sandwiches. This was a great, great start to the night.

First up was (and I'm stealing this from the website menu) Hawaiian Bigeye Tuna Poke with Crispy Sushi Rice Cake & Peppercress-Tosaka Salad. And who was there to serve us, was Ming Tsai himself. He came to our table with two dishes, placed them, and explained what was in the dish. It was all we could do not to look like complete stalker-ish fans. Obviously he didn't remember us from last year, but we weren't expecting him to. The tuna was perfect, but what made this dish for me was the crispy sushi rice cake. It was such a perfect compliment to the tuna. Immediately I'm happy I've gone with the chef's tasting menu, and not just because Ming just served us, but because I always get the carpaccio I wouldn't have ordered this dish. I'm so glad I was able to try it, along with 3 other dishes to follow.

Next up was the signature dish of Blue Ginger, the butterfish. From the menu, it is: Sake-Miso Marinated Alaskan Butterfish with Wasabi Oil, Soy-Lime Syrup and Vegetarian Soba Noodle Sushi. I had no idea what the soba noodle sushi would be. But I knew going into that night's dinner, I wanted this butterfish. We weren't served by Ming Tsai this time, but by one of the friendly hostesses. Still, the dish was incredible. The fish was cooked perfectly, flaking off the moment the fork touched it. The soba noodle sushi was one of the best vegetarian sushi rolls I have ever had. I would order a couple of these rolls at a sushi place if they had it on their menu. In the middle of our meal, the Chef came by to say that he was heading home soon but wanted to give us an autographed menu of the chef tasting menu but that we weren't allowed to look and peak at what the other dishes were to come. Also, he told us to finish our plate and to come take a picture with him. So we did.

Awesome, our second pic with chef Ming Tsai. So cool. I know we are so nerdy and geeky with our fondness for celeb chefs, but to me, chefs are way cooler than actors any day.

We had long waits between meals. But that was fine by us. The portions we were getting for each dish were nearly full entree size. I was getting stuffed fast and these long breaks were a nice way to gear up for the next dish coming. This dish was the Foie Gras-Shiitake Shumai in Sauternes-Shallot Broth. This is how good a shumai should be, though I'm not certain any dim sum place could afford serving this dish. The broth reminded of french onion soup, and cut the richness of the foie gras perfectly. I'm not sure if we were suppose to slurp the broth clean off our plates, but we both did it anyway.

Now the peice-de-resistance. The surf and turf. Hanger Steak and Lobster. Grilled Marinated Hanger Steak with BG Steak Sauce and Garlic-Black Pepper Lobster with Lemongrass Fried Rice. I could not believe how much lobster we got on this dish. I cannot believe that the ala cart version can be that much bigger. The garlic and black pepper on the lobster really made this dish. Those flavors were so infused in the buttery lobster and was so decadent with each bite. The hanger steak was likewise perfectly cooked and the flavors of the Blue Ginger steak sauce was both tangy and savory. The only complaint, and it was a really small complaint, was the fried rice. Not that it was bad, just ordinary. And really, I was so full, I only took a few bites of the rice that was housed in the shell of the head of the lobster. That was pretty nice use of the head.

Dessert came out as a creme brulee and a flourless chocolate cake. It was like they knew what both of us would have ordered. I was so full, I could only take a few bites of both, but they were so good. The creme brulee had the perfect sugar crisp top and the buttery, milky cream inside. The chocolate cake was rich and sweet while being at the same time light. (Not sure if that makes sense.)

We were also given a nice little cookie ending. I wish I could say it was only us who got it, but it seemed like everyone at the restaurant was celebrating a birthday or anniversary. So these little cookies were being passed around the entire restaurant.

At $80, this tasting menu is a bargain. Yes I know this sounds strange to say in our current recession, but trust me, you cannot go wrong with this meal. Definitely one of the best meals of my life. I give Blue Ginger a 5 out of 5!

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