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The dish
What's new in local dining

By CARI TAYLOR-CARLSON

May 2009

On a chilly Wednesday at Ginger, we appreciated the bartenderís suggestion to dine on the upper level. "Itís warmer up there," he said. And he was right. We settled into a booth in the corner, grateful for the warm rush, and checked out the surroundings ó especially the colorful light fixtures.

"Contemporary," my friend said. An understatement, but one that clearly defines the dťcor at Ginger. "Awesome," I said. "I want my house to look like this ó clean, sleek, uncluttered and simple yet cozy with conversation nooks for parties."

Downstairs we found a pool table, abundant open space to sip martinis, a bar as long as a city block and a few tables around the edge of the room. Upstairs, we were told, Ginger has another room for private parties.

The modest wine list became irrelevant when our server said, "You can order a glass of cabernet or chardonnay for $3 until 7 p.m." Happy Hour runs Tuesday-Friday from 5 to 7 p.m.

At Ginger, the menu choices are called "tapas;" I call them "small plates." Itís hard to characterize the menu as anything but diverse. There are three kinds of pizza on flatbread, an angus beef or veggie slider with lettuce, tomato and caramelized onions on French bread and seared salmon in vodka cream and green olive sauce. In a word, "fusion." Creative cuisine, Š la carte.

We went directly to the southeastern Asian-inspired choices, Tofu and Green Bean Red Curry, Buddha Stew and Green Coconut Curry with Grilled Shrimp (or tofu). We wanted heat, the burn, something to excite our taste buds, open our senses and leave us exclaiming: "Wow." We were not disappointed. The green beans in the red curry crunched; the tofu didnít. The sauce produced many layers of flavors, including a hint of the sought-after heat. The shrimp with spinach and Israeli couscous, the mild member of our dinner trio, combined flavors to make a pleasant choice, one to please less intrepid diners. The stew surprised us with its combination of squash, tomato, pear juice and spicy peanuts. It had the heat that burns slowly, leaving a warm happy mouth. And thatís what we came for.

ĽGinger
235 S. 2nd St., Milwaukee(414) 220-9420

 


This story ran in the May 2009 issue of: