Restaurant Review by Mara Alexander
One of my favorite restaurants during a recent trek through the eastern half of Massachusetts was in Wellesley, called the Blue Ginger restaurant. This was a fabulous experience, both in the unique atmosphere and the superb food. You may have heard of this restaurant because of its worldwide praise and rave reviews. It is actually the restaurant that was founded by none other than Ming Tsai, who is the TV personality and chef behind the show SIMPLY MING which is currently in its 9th season running. Ming is a huge advocate for FAAN (Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network) and he continues to provide education about food allergies to the public. According to his website Ming.com, “For the past four years, he worked with the Massachusetts legislature to help write Bill S.2701, which was recently signed into law. This groundbreaking legislation, the first of its kind in the U.S., requires local restaurants to comply with specific food-allergy-awareness guidelines.” He also piloted the Food Allergy Reference Book, which he used first at his Blue Ginger Restaurant and it aids in helping restaurants become educated on food allergy and cross-contact issues.
Blue Ginger is the type of restaurant that becomes not just a dining experience, but a cultural experience. Ming and his team have an amazing ability to fuse Asian, French, and South American foods into meals of amazing flavor that will satiate any palette. Be sure to allow plenty of time for your dining experience, because excellent cuisine like this can take a fair amount of time to prepare. And believe me, every food allergy is taken into account upon ordering. I have Celiac, so gluten-free is the top priority when I order; I also have food allergies to seafood, fish, and coconut. Even though I ate dinner on a bustling Friday night, the wait staff was unparalleled, with our server coming by to check on our table often and give us updates about our food status. Our server was very knowledgeable about cross-contact issues and was extremely careful about any menu recommendations she made to me. When we received our food, it was delicately and flawlessly prepared. The décor was simple and the ambiance was soft.
I started off with an appetizer of their astonishingly flavorful homemade gluten-free bread, followed by Ming’s Spiced Sweet Potato Soup, which was amazingly rich but not too overpowering. It was a comforting, warm and inviting soup, not to mention extremely satisfying and filling. Next on the menu for me was Quinoa Swiss Chard Risotto with Roasted Mushrooms and Cape Cod Cranberry-Balsamic Syrup. The original menu paired Gingered Verrill Farms Butternut Squash with the Risotto, but my server informed me during my order that the squash was cooked in coconut milk, so I left that one out due to my coconut allergy. I added Asian vegetables to my meal in lieu of the squash. The Risotto had a remarkable infusion of tastes; it was seamlessly paired with cranberry-balsamic syrup, pumpkin seeds, and a host of Asian vegetables. At this point, I was so full and my appetite was satisfied, so desert was not on my mind. But I did elect to finish the meal off with a lovely cup of hot peppermint tea, served from a heavy black iron Asian kettle.
The added bonus of my visit to Blue Ginger was seeing that they were most accommodating to my husband Kevin as well, who must eat a low-protein diet due to his genetic condition called PKU. His plate contained noodles and vegetables with a scampi-style sauce, and he finished up his meal with a berry ginger sorbet. He too was full and satisfied with his experience.
Everything in the Blue Ginger was top notch, from the service to the atmosphere to the food. On behalf of all Celiacs and food allergy sufferers around the world, thank you Ming for a job well done! You and your team are to be commended. The trip from Louisiana to Massachusetts was well worth it just to visit the Blue Ginger.
583 Washington Street
Wellesley, MA 02482