Birthday dinner, 2011

My birthday dinner
Hangar steak at Blue Ginger

Thanks again to all the friends and family who sent birthday wishes! Being 43 isn’t so bad — so far. I didn’t go to my high school reunion in Westchester, New York, this past weekend because only a few of the people I was friends with 25+ years ago were attending (we’ll arrange an informal gathering in spring of 2012). On Saturday, 15 October 2011, Janice and I browsed among the shops in Wellesley, Massachusetts, including the Wellesley Booksmith and Wasik’s Cheese Shop.

We then met Thomas K.Y. & Kai-Yin H. for dinner at Blue Ginger, the restaurant of celebrity chef Ming Tsai. We had talked about eating there for years, and we finally managed to get a reservation a week in advance. The Asian fusion cuisine was very good, and the open kitchen was a nice touch. (I’ve posted versions of this review to Yelp and Zagat‘s Web sites.)

For appetizers, we had the tender salmon and beef carpaccio, attractive charcuterie plate, and shiitake-leek spring rolls. For entrees, we ordered tasty hangar steak, nicely spiced Vindaloo-glazed lamb, and flaky Alaskan butterfish.

For dessert, we ate a sorbet trio with a ginger kick, spiced buttermilk donuts, a sweet petit four plate, and foie gras-shiitake shumai. (Janice also baked me a chocolate cake at home.) The dishes were all an interesting blend of flavors, if a bit rich and pricey. The service was prompt and efficient. I’d definitely recommend Blue Ginger for special occasions.

Thomas asked an interesting question: How would I compare Blue Ginger with Tango and Smith & Wollensky, where we’ve dined together previously? Although the cuisines are different, we’ve ordered steak at all three. I thought that Smith & Wollensky, at which Beruk A. and I joined Thomas, Stuart C.G., and Stuart’s son in Boston a few years ago, was the best but also the most expensive.

Tango, an Argentinean steakhouse in Arlington, Mass., had a somewhat more limited menu, but I’d rate it slightly higher than Blue Ginger, whose dining room was a bit noisy. We also discussed our busy schedules, travel, and other eateries to try, such as Summer Shack in Dedham, Texas Roadhouse in Walpole, and Petit Robert Bistro and Rice Barn in Needham. Of course, if money and time were no object, I’d happily eat at any of these places.

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