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Perfect Birthday - Blue Ginger in Wellesley MA

Blue Ginger Since 1998 - Ming Tsai's Blue Ginger in Wellesley has been recognized as an award winning restaurant worth visiting. The wait staff are courteous, the food excellent and interesting and the ambiance comfortable and calming - a great place to celebrate a quiet birthday, especially if your son happens to work there.

Blue Ginger, nestled in an idyllic rolling section of Washington Street in Wellesley, describes itself as “East meets West” with an asian presentation of traditional American food. I would not be heading so far away to check on owner Ming Tsai’s longstanding reputation if it were not for my son, Damian, who works in the “cook’s wharf,” a long galley kitchen, open to view, where all the food is prepared with care, precision and elegance.

“For your birthday,” he said, “you and Jordan will be dining at Blue Ginger, 7pm reservations.” I am a Do’chest’ gal, barely making it out of Uphams Corner, so the thought of driving to Wellesley at 6pm, on the hopes that traffic would permit a one-hour transit was a bit daunting. But using the back roads through West Roxbury and meeting with Route 9 in Chestnut Hill, we avoided the deluge of rush hour cars.

Warmly Welcoming Environment

The hosts welcomed us warmly. “Table 33. Follow me,” and the party was humming. This restaurant is huge but happily we were seated at a small table close to the front. As you enter the restaurant, the main aisle and the kitchen are to your right while a knee wall defines the perimeter of the seating area. For me our table was the perfect location. The staff who monitor, prepare and deliver the Blue Ginger specialties were in plain view and an ever present reminder of ongoing culinary creativity and excellence.

Simple drinks and plenty of water (tap? bottled?) were followed by Foie Gras-Shiitake Shumai in Sauternes-Shallot Broth - three beautifully soft and delicate dumplings encasing a subtle chicken liver and foie gras mixture. Separately, a pan of shallot broth waited like a dark wading pool for the dumplings. Unlike an appetizer that suppresses the appetite, the Shumai invited us to expect the unexpected in the entrees yet to come.

The atmosphere of Blue Ginger is both intimate and personal. The wait staff stop by frequently and I had a sense we were friends. Maybe the link to my son had an influence but I listened to Ming Tsai speak with the table of four next to us in the same family way.

He was promoting “Boston Bites Back” to the folks seated there which he and Chef Ken Oringer in partnership with other groups had created to raise $1 million for The One Fund.

Food Fit for Royalty

Butterfish at Blue GingerJordan ordered “Seared Duck Breast* with Sweet Wasabi Sauce, also served with Applewood Smoked Duck Leg Wild Fried Rice and Shiso-Bartlett Pear Purée.” “Mm, mm - very tender - and the salad makes my mouth water. Nice contrast with the meat and rice.”

I ordered the Chef Signature Butterfish entree: “Sake-Miso Marinated Sablefish (a.k.a. Butterfish) with Wasabi Oil, Soy-Lime Syrup and Vegetarian Soba Noodle Sushi. That was Damian’s recommendation for delicate, soft and subtle flavors with whole grain soba noodles.

The fish literally melted in my mouth and the sushi was so interesting. How did they manage to put so many flavors in such a small morsel! “Made fresh,” Damian said, “by hand - every day.”

Blue Ginger dinner menu

Happy Birthday

When we (thought we) had finished our meal, the waitress stopped by again. “No, not yet,” she said. “We have dessert for you.” Oh, oh. Must be my birthday.

She had asked Damian for his recommendations: “Key lime donuts and anything else,” he said. So Jordan was presented with key lime sorbet and three warm balls of fried dough, Damian’s favorite dessert. For me, they selected a single serving birthday cake: “Happy Birthday” written on a crisp wafer cookie, a macadamia nut brownie, vanilla ice cream and a thin topping of ultra-rich chocolate sauce.

Two candles burned - one for what has been and one for what shall be. And the present? Too fleeting to warrant a candle of its own.

Thank you so much to all - wait staff, cooks, Damian, Jordan, Blue Ginger and Ming Tsai himself, who came over to welcome us and express praise to me for having raised a very fine son.

Blue Ginger
583 Washington St
Wellesley MA

Posted: May 10, 2013 Nancy J Conrad

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