Volume 95, Issue 34

Thursday, November 1, 2001
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Blue Ginger a monumental experience

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Chris Vrenna: from Nine Inch Nails to low-fi, ambient rock

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Blue Ginger a monumental experience

Blue Ginger Lounge and Grille

644 Richmond St.

Five stars (out of five)

By Molly Duignan
Gazette Staff


Dave Van Dyck/Gazette

Some restaurants are cozy. Some have good food, but bad decor. Some have food that doesn't justify the price on the menu. Some restaurants make you wait and then bring your food out cold.

But Blue Ginger is not just some restaurant. In many ways, it defies the expectations of all others.

The exterior may be alluring and architecturally awe-inspiring, but, once inside, this fine dining haven is best described as unbelievable.

Blue Ginger's impressive and ever-changing menu offers a wide selection of cuisine for prices that may seem steep, but are actually quite generous considering the exquisite quality of Asian-infused food made to order from scratch.

Freshen up on your fine dining etiquette, put on your best clothes and get ready for what could possibly be the best meal of your young life. Just don't expect to have much money left afterwards.

Start with Blue Ginger's signature "First Plate" – Fire and Ice. You'll never settle for "normal" sushi again and, for a cost of $10, it is one of the restaurant's most reasonably-priced appetizers.

A generous portion of Asian vegetables rolled in sushi rice, wrapped in nori and tempura-dipped, this is an experience on its own. Served with pickled ginger, soy sauce and wasabi, the world of appetizers may never be the same.

A favorite feature, "Second Plate" – the Atlantic Halibt – is a mouth-watering contrast of textures and tastes. Served on a bed of celery puree and encrusted with black truffles, the fresh fish is a smooth, luxurious treat for the senses.

Also a masterpiece for the eyes and the pallet is the Filet of Black Angus Beef, with braised red cabbage served atop a delicious potato rosti and a confit of shallot. A perfect cut recommended as medium-rare, this dish is filling, but arrives at the cost of $30.

Made fresh daily, Blue Ginger's desserts are the perfect finale to a perfect meal. The sorbet trio – a collage of pear, lemon and strawberry-rhubarb – is a delicious frozen treat.

Other available desserts range from a chocolate mousse torte to a goat cheese flan, but creations are changed and added daily by Blue Ginger's renowned chef, Leon Kisliuk.

The establishment boasts a diverse selection of wine to accommodate most requests. Prices for a bottle of wine range from $35 to $300.

The attention to detail in both cuisine and decor at Blue Ginger is astounding.

The modest space of the dining room is strategically used so each corner, crook and angle in the two-level restaurant is perfectly illuminated. The lighting is subtle and the choice of Asian-inspired furniture makes Blue Ginger look like a photo feature in an architectural magazine.

The almost eccentric artwork complements the dining room's ambiance, while the use of mirrors strategically creates a sense of open space. The second-level dining room and bar area also boasts a unique design.

Exclusive to Blue Ginger is its Sunday "Chef's Table," a five-course presentation that offers different selections each week. For $65 per person, this is perhaps the greatest value combination available in London.

Make no mistake, this is fine dining that comes with a high price. But, for those special occasions or for those with diamonds on the soles of their shoes, it may be no less than a monumental experience well-worth saving up for.

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Copyright The Gazette 2001