Ginger Hop — June 9, 2010

10 06 2010

Ginger Hop
201 E. Hennepin
Minneapolis
www.gingerhop.com 

Taking advantage of a dry day among a week of rain, we hopped on our bicycles and crossed the Hennepin bridge with the wind at our backs. The scenery was perfect – a setting sun on a rapid river and a lively metro – but I think I spent most of the time focusing on getting to dinner in one piece, riding the thin line between hurried traffic and the guardrail bordering the drop to rushing water. We pedaled up the street to Ginger Hop, windblown and slightly out of breath – but certainly feeling like local, outdoorsy Minnesotans! 

After stepping inside and noting its unique design personality, we bypassed the outside tables on a beautiful summer evening to take in the Ginger Hop vibe. The bar and restaurant felt open and spacious with a dramatic, upscale feel from the dark wood accents, large booths, paddle-shaped fans and large sprays of bright, voluptuous flowers in stately ceramic vases. We’d heard it to be Asian Chic, and couldn’t describe it better ourselves. 

A menu of “Eastern comfort food with a Latin influence” (as referenced by a local blog), offered a good mix of proteins, entrée sizes and flavors. Deciding  what to order was somewhat of a challenge, but the waitress helpfully guided us toward the local favorites. Jim’s Basil Stir Fry mixed bites of chicken, florets of broccoli, strips of red pepper, slices of mushrooms and bits of onion and garlic in a dark oyster sauce. We even detected slight hint of anise, though it could have been the result of basil among the selection of vegetables. Either way, its original taste was an ideal way to liven a chicken entrée. 

Sweet Green Curry

The Sweet Green Curry was the first thing our waitress blurted when I asked what dish was most popular. Not to be fooled by the title, she said it brought some heat and had a solid coconut taste. Sign me up! Red pepper, peas and eggplant soaked in a creamy coconut sauce with a touch of spice that lingered. The heat wasn’t immediate, but each bite would build on the one before, creating a gradual sensation. An incredibly tender piece of chicken served as the centerpiece, and sprigs of cilantro topped it all. It came with a side of jasmine rice, but I didn’t need much – the taste of the sauce and vegetables was much too good to smother with starch. 

Ginger Hop worked well for a simple Wednesday night dinner, though would also be a great weekend date spot – complete with a visit to Honey, the adjoining bar and lounge. Enjoying absolutely delicious food with a practical price tag won our favor, and our recommendations. We left full and excited that a dinner like that had been such a steal … and that we had a hearty bike-ride home in front of us. 

RATING (out of 5 ♠♠♠♠♠)
Ambiance/Environment: ♠♠♠♠
Menu Selection: ♠♠♠1/2
Service: ♠♠♠1/2

Food Taste & Presentation: ♠♠♠♠
COMPLETE EXPERIENCE: ♠♠♠♠
 

Total bill, including tip: $28

Ginger Hop on Urbanspoon

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