Monday, September 14, 2009

FoodTrek: Wild Ginger with a Hint of Wasabi

In the sage words of 50 Cent: Go shorty, it's your birthday, we gonna party like it's your birthday. Thanks, 50, you maestro of the English lexicon, you. The newly-christened Bellevue Wild Ginger opened its doors for its first night on Saturday at The Bravern, and got to party like it's your birthday to celebrate the birth of a new Eastside dining establishment. Only one word to describe it all: YUM.

Wild Ginger heads East! - Photo by Wasabi Prime

Wild Ginger has been a much-celebrated restaurant in Seattle since 2000, serving deliciously fragrant Thai cuisine and an impressive selection of wines. I'm personally a big fan of owners Rick and Ann Yoder's second creation, The Triple Door, located right next door to the downtown Wild Ginger. It has a gorgeous lounge area and a really impressive music theater where I've seen some outstanding performances. Both Wild Ginger and The Triple Door are full-immersion experiences, where you feel like all your senses are truly involved, and I appreciate their attention to that level of engagement while enjoying a meal. When I heard that there would be a Wild Ginger hopping across the Lake Washington pond to be within the radius of the Happy Hour Martini Mafia, I thought, look out Ginger, here we come. Consider yourself forewarned!

I was excited at the prospect of a new locale with a menu I already enjoy, and very pleasantly surprised to be invited to their opening night soiree. It was a treat to get gussied-up on what's normally a pajama and fuzzy slipper night, so with Mr. Wasabi (aka, Brock) in tow, we set out to dine and mingle with the well-dressed gents and ladies of Bellevue and Seattle. I also had the nervous pleasure of introducing myself to writer Lorna Yee and her husband, who were kind enough to say hello back to my crazy babbling self.

Martini Mafia, target acquired, commence happy hour-ing. - Photo by Wasabi Prime

Wild Ginger's new space is a mix between industrial and earthy materials. It takes up two floors with dining and lounge areas on both levels. Wandering through the space, we discovered a lot of smaller dining nooks with booths and small tables. When the fever of the new opening subsides, this would make for a really pleasant date locale, having all this small party-of-two seating that's secluded and perfect for making googly-eyes at one another. Exposed ceiling structures and iron railings are softened by slabs of teak and bamboo walls. It's a minimal and neutral interior space, making it an aptly zen canvas to showcase the food. One's eye immediately went to the platters carrying colorful and delicious appetizers. Fried little lumpia-like springrolls, sesame-dotted pinwheels of beef, and my favorite for the evening, seared scallops served in a bamboo cup with a little ruffle of lettuce.

View from above and tasty nibbles, up close and personal. - Photos by Wasabi Prime

In the dining area downstairs, they had a table displaying massive bamboo steamer baskets full of shredded duck hugged in fluffy steamed buns, and platters of tender skewers of lamb satay, with a savory rich peanut sauce. There were also small bite-sized crab cakes and vegetables in rice wrappers, devoured too quickly for a photo. Small sweet bites of frosted cakes followed, but once afflicted with om-nomming, it's a critical condition, so just believe me when I say it was all tasty and I'm looking forward to returning and being able to revisit some old favorites on the Eastside Wild Ginger's menu.

We left before we turned into a pumpkin. Hey, it happens. - Photos by Wasabi Prime

I had a glass or two of bubbly, but refrained from partying-down, 50 Cent-style. Taking advantage of the empty floors, we wandered about The Bravern and took a photo of the courtyard space that was set aside for the entrance of the party -- the giant fireplaces scattered throughout all the floors are impressive. And toasty. I hope they have s'mores night at The Bravern. Yeah... probably not. We returned home to our party of one, Indy, who was happy to see us and confirm with much interested sniffing that we indeed had some delicious food, before pouting in her bed that we brought back nary a nibble for her.

A gracious thanks to Wild Ginger and The Bravern for throwing this party, and much Wasabi appreciation for being included in the festivities.

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  1. Looks like a beautiful space! Nice job with the photos. (I am obsessed with trying to take photos recently.) YOur little Indy is adorable, I bet she would get along swimmingly with my hungry dog Frances.

  2. The photo taking is tricky, especially trying to balance a glass o' wine, and among people with way better, more awesome cameras. Mine is an old point and shoot digital Canon. Believe me when I say, Photoshop is this blog's best friend!!

  3. This place looks divine, but I can't believe you let poor Indy starve. Nary a treat? I don't know why that poor, mistreated animal puts up with you! :)

  4. I had some appetizers there on Saturday, and I'm looking forward to going back for dinner sometime soon. I thought the downstairs bar was a cute and intimate area.


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