It had been quite some time since I had dined at Wild Ginger, but as my friend and I tried to decide where to have lunch the Chicken Chieu salad called out to me.
We arrived at 11:30am, just as they were getting lunch service rolling. We approached the hostess station and asked for a table for two. The young hostess lead us into the windowed bar, which was completely empty, and to a table that was pushed up against a wall. This was the only mis-step (Why would you seat anyone up against a wall when the entire dining room and every window table is available). We asked for a different table and were seated next to a south facing window.
Our waiter approached us soon after and asked if he could get us a glass of wine or anything else to drink. We settled on a pot of Jasmine tea, which he said was a superior choice to the Ginger Mint tea (loose leaf vs bagged tea). We were happy to have that guidance and waited for our tea.
When he returned with our tea he took our order. Although I have many delicious favorites on the Ginger menu--Seven Element Soup, Tuna Ananda, Fragrant Duck--I ordered the Chicken Chieu salad--a crunchy cabbage-based salad that is at once spicy, salty, sweet and sour. It has the elusive umami. My pal ordered the Papaya salad.
Clearly the kitchen was on its game. Timing was perfect. We were not rushed, nor did we ever feel forgotten. When the salads came we noted how they looked alike, but after a tasting trade we discovered how different they were.
After cleaning our plates, our waiter tempted us with coconut gelato. OH MY GAWD! This frozen confection seriously rivals Tom Douglas' Triple Coconut Cream Pie. Served with Mango sorbet, the meal left us with the feeling of having been somewhere sunny and warm and deeply relaxing.
This dining experience kept the Wild Ginger promise.
Here is a http://www.wildginger.net/ to their Web site...under construction.