Tuesday, May 25, 2010

THE LIST | Wild Ginger

Despite what some may lead you to believe, not all vegetarian and pure vegetarian restaurants are created equal — one bad apple shouldn’t spoil the bunch. With over 100 to choose from in all five boroughs, I’m tasting my way through each one to reveal the best NYC has to offer. Last night’s stop: Wild Ginger Pan-Asian Vegan Café.

With three locations — two in Manhattan and two in Brooklyn — and a 100% vegan menu based on traditional Japanese, Chinese, Vietnamese, Korean, Thai and South Asian cuisine, Wild Ginger has become a popular choice for Veggies and Pure Veggies citywide. But the goal of The List is to pinpoint those special places serving pure veg fare that would wow even carnivorous Foodies looking for an inspired meal. So how does Wild Ginger rate?

Rating Scale
Stinker — Don’t bother
Maybe — Some nice options but I wouldn’t write home about it
Winner — Almost a True Winner, but there’s still something missing
True Winner — Best of the best, take a meat eater and watch them rave

You don’t need to be vegetarian, pure vegetarian, or even in search of a healthy meal to enjoy Wild Ginger. The peaceful, earthy vibe is calming and the food is overall tasty, well priced and worth the trip — don't let the presence of mock meat in most dishes deter you; it might even fool you. The Singapore-style Mei-fun I ordered was perfectly spicy and disappeared within minutes, and the Grand Green tea (green tea, peppermint and fresh mint) is mild and refreshing. The Pad Thai is worth a taste, though overall spicy and not anything near what I would expect a more traditional Pad Thai to look or taste like. And while I loved the tea, I found myself wishing I’d been served loose tea in my pot instead of the round tea bag I saw floating in the strainer when I opened the lid.

The Verdict: Winner
With a few minor improvements, Wild Ginger would easily make it to the top of the list.

To find out more about Wild Ginger and any of their four NYC locations, visit www.wildgingervegan.com.

Pictured above: Singapore-style Mei-fun noodles

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