Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Ginger Hop - Minneapolis, MN

I was starving after class the other night, so when I got a text from RubyVita, I suggested a late dinner at Ginger Hop, a place she’s familiar with since she lives in Northeast. They serve food until 10, so we made it in plenty of time. We hopped in our respective cars and headed over to Ginger Hop.

The inside of the place is apparently very similar to its prior business, called The Times. It’s pretty dim inside and has a lot of dark wood. It gives the illusion of being upscale without being snobby. It’s a pretty slick atmosphere, actually. The table we got seated at looked really cool with its grooved surface, but in reality, the grooves were the perfect grooves for catching food and spilled drinks and ended up being really sticky and kind of gross. I got over it though.

Ginger Hop has a decent girly drink menu and a pretty good wine list for a small place like this. I was impressed with the number of wines on the list, but still ended up going with a girly drink. I got a Black Pearl - a chocolate martini with Kahlua, Baileys, Frangelico, and Patron XO Café. It was good, but it was almost too chocolatey, since it had a cocoa-lined rim. It’s more of a fun drink than a tasty drink. The way I judge drinks is if I would want to go home and make a pitcher of the drink, then it’s good. This one I don’t need a pitcher of, but it was still good.

The food menu was much smaller than I thought it would be, especially considering how many drinks and wines were on the drink menu. There are like 5 items under each category – salads, soups, noodles, etc. However, don’t let the number of things alarm you, there were more than a handful of items that sounded appealing, so maybe they have just narrowed the number of items while keeping the RIGHT items on the menu. There’s also a section for sandwiches, which really surprised me. But some of the sandwiches sounded pretty awesome.

I ordered the fresh spring rolls, since RubyVita spoke highly of in her review of the place, and I had the waiter decide between the Pad Lao and the Green Curry. He said the Green Curry was spicy, so I went with that. Though, the Pad Lao is also good, so I should come back and get that.

The Spring Rolls came out pretty quickly and looked great. It’s a tad dark in the place, so the photos didn’t turn out fantastic. But these were really good spring rolls. I always try to get these things when I go to Asian restaurants, since they’re my favorite and I like to have a general baseline for comparison when I go to places. These spring rolls were not overly tightly rolled nor loose and floppy or gummy. They were very flavorful. RubyVita got the Cream Cheese Wontons which looked awesome. They were really large fried pillows of cream cheese. And we were both impressed with how perfectly they were fried. Crispy, but still moist enough to not destroy your mouth when you bit into them. And there wasn’t a small dollop of cream cheese in side, there was a huge ball. Awesome.

The food came out and I’m glad I went with the Green Curry. The photo doesn’t do it justice, but it looked beautiful.

The flavor of this dish was better than a lot of green curries I’ve had. The vegetables were crispy and not at all soggy. The chicken pieces were actual chicken, with a mostly shredded chicken breast on the top of the dish. And the best part was the level of spice. Really spicy without bringing tears or making me reach for water. It was great. I would highly recommend the green curry to anyone who loves Thai curry. You won’t be disappointed. I could have used a bit more plain rice with this, but I rationed it so I didn’t run out until the very end of the meal. It’s not like the rice is expensive, am I right?

RubyVita got a Banh Mi sandwich, which is like a Vietnamese-style sandwich with brined pork loin, pate, pickled daikon (whatever that is), carrots, cucumber, cilantro, and jalapeno. She didn’t think it was fantastic as it ended up being a tad dry, but it was edible. It sounded weird enough that I probably would have liked it. Maybe sometime. It comes with sweet potato fries, which she’s not a fan of, so I ate all of them. Hahaha. I’m such a freeloader…

We didn’t’ have any plans, so we sat and gabbed for a long while and had more drinks. I ordered a St. Anthony Sling – blackberry brandy, juniper organic gin, pineapple juice. It was really good, much better than the chocolate martini I had. I’d get this one again, for sure. I wish I wasn’t driving since there are a couple more girly drinks I needed to try. I guess I’ll have to go back a couple of times, won’t I?

I was also told I need to go check out the restroom. It was pretty slick. It had clear fiberglass dividers with long blades of grass trapped between them. It is jus t a really nicely decorated restroom. Don’t forget to check it out.
I liked Ginger Hop. I realize this is based on one experience, but I really liked it. I know Ruby Vita has had some mixed experiences and bad luck with entrees, but for me, I liked it. I’ll likely go back here, though now that RubyVita has moved out of Northeast, I’ll have to plan ahead of time or go with someone else (and face the wrath of RubyVita when she finds out).

Top 5 things about Ginger Hop
1. Green Curry
2. Fresh Spring Rolls
3. Cream Cheese Wontons
4. St. Anthony Sling
5. Fantastic drink menu

Bottom 5 things
1. I still wish Gerd would have had a chance to meet RubyVita – we talked about Gerd a lot and her taste in food and music during dinner. Gerd would have loved this food and the conversation, fo sho
2. Grooved table kind of grossed me out a bit – that’s difficult to do
3. There weren’t very many people inside at all, so I’m hoping it stays open
4. Parking isn’t the greatest during the day (like most of Northeast), but was fine after 9pm
5. Small food menu (but it had the right items, so it’s not necessarily a bad thing, in reality)


1 comment:

Ruby James Vita said...

You have no excuse - I can still go to NE anytime I want! NYAH!

We didn' talk about it - but I also loved the green curry. It had a really original flavor to it - a softer spice almost like saffron or something (which i know it wasn't.) It was fun hanging out -thanks!