Tonight I tried out Ginger Park (formerly Banq) in the South End. It’s contemporary south Asian cuisine with small plates that are best for sharing. The space itself is amazing, everything is very organic and has a nice flowing energy. It’s a really nice feel, but on a Wednesday night there was hardly anyone there. I started to wonder if it was the food or the location…
The first dish that arrived was the crispy shrimp and mushroom wontons with sweet chili sauce. These wontons were really good, the outside was perfectly crispy and the inside was perfectly soft and tasty. I really didn’t like the sauce, there was a tang in it like an orange zest that I didn’t think worked. Without the sauce they were really good, although I’m not sure I’d order them again.
Next up the Thai green papaya and mango salad. The serving size was hearty, and the colors were really vibrant. The papaya and mango was nicely julienned, so it was easy to eat but also very pretty to look at. This salad was nice and light but also really flavorful and slighly spicy. There was a warning that it was spicy on the menu, but I really thought it was just barely spicy. I kind of wish I had some of this to eat again tomorrow, that’s how nice it is.
The star of the evening was the tea smoked duck, scallion pancake, kumquat and apple chutney, which was served with a plum dipping sauce. Putting thinly sliced duck on a scallion pancake topped with a little plum sauce was genius. Scallion pancakes should never be eaten without duck, they go hand and hand it seems. It turns out that I don’t like kumquats, but my foodie partner Natasha seemed to really enjoy them. If you like duck, then this is a great dish for you.
I ordered us the shaking beef moo shu, leeks, mushrooms and basil. There was nothing on the menu to indicate that it is in fact quite spicy. Natasha almost chocked on the spice, and then what would I do? Yell for help, “my friend is chocking because the moo shu is too spicy! Actually she’s not really chocking, but she’s dying on the inside.” Ok, that is an exaggeration, but she coughed for like 5 minutes when she inhaled the hot fumes. I thought the moo shu was actually very good, spicy yes, but I liked how they pre-wrapped them to individual sizes and made them easily edible.
The final course of our dinner was the duck confit and sausage fried rice, sunny side-up egg. This dish reminded me of Abe, he loves to put eggs into everything. The fried rice was great, there were little veggies like peas and onions throughout the lightly fried rice. The sausage was fantastic, it reminded me of Chinese boneless spareribs! Little bits of the sparerib tasting sausage were spread throughout along with the duck confit. The sunny side-up egg just sat right on top of the hill of rice. What this wasn’t was oily, when we order fried rice at other places or make it at home it tends to be overly oily and heavy feeling. This was a really great dish, I think all fried rice should be made like this one.
I don’t understand why there were so few people at the restaurant because this place is really good. The food is good, the atmosphere is good, the people are nice, and they have valet parking (in front of Union next door). My only suggestion…I think they should add a couple of soups, when I eat Asian meals I really like to have a cup of soup as a starter, and I think a few desserts might be nice. They served tiny shots of hot chocolate when the bill arrived and it was really good, but I could have gone for a pastry or something. Those are two very minor details, I plan on going back and I hope more people try it out so it can flourish.
Ginger Park A