Sunday, April 19, 2009

The New Kid In Town Part 3 - Ginban Asian Bistro

The economy hasn't recovered yet, but my neighborhood continues its efforts to make itself a dining destination. I have mentioned in the past that we have not one, but three new Asian fusion restaurants all within walking distance of my home. Last night I had a big bug up my butt to try one. There were two of the three that I hadn't tried yet. I chose the one where I could actually get seating. These places are popular!

We arrived around 8:30, which is a little past prime dinner hour in this area, but the street was hopping on a warm Saturday night. Every restaurant on the block was crowded. The Ginban hostess was taking one of her seemingly frequent smoke breaks when we showed up, but she put the ciggie out pretty quickly and came inside to seat us when we went through the door.

Ginban is one of those painfully hip restaurants. You walk in and see the bar and sushi bar all lit with this funky lighting. The other side of the restaurant is slightly more sedate.

We were seated at the only table available, right inside the window. As it was a warm night, the doors were wide open. Kevin was a little annoyed by the draft. We ended up switching places at one point.

We received our menus right away, but it took a while for someone to take our drink order. The slowness was not an issue at first. The menu is massive. I really needed time to puruse it.

There were two pages of appetizers, four pages of sushi and sashimi specials, and two pages of kitchen entrees.

We finally made up our minds, but a server was nowhere to be seen. We hadn't even received our drinks yet.

The drinks finally did arrive after we complained, which was some time around when the server came to take our dinner order. What Asian meal is complete without a fruity cocktail? Kevin had the Mai Tai. I had something called a melon cooler. There was definitely some melon in here, but it was mostly voooooooooddddddddkkkkkkkaaaaaaa.

The soup (his) and salad (mine) that came with our meals came before the appetizers. He had miso. I had this salad that consisted of mixed greens, mango, and a little fried thing on top that tasted like a cross between a fried wonton skin and a shrimp toast. The dressing was not your standard Japanese-restaurant ginger dressing. It was a nice fruity dressing. Good salad. I'm feeling a little less angry about the service.

Since I was eating at a new restaurant, I wanted to try something that I couldn't get anywhere else. I ordered something called Red Oil Dumplings. It turned out they were unavailable. Kevin had the shumai pictured above. I ended up getting vegetable dumplings, which the server recommended.

I'm not sure I've ever had dumplings this green. Taste wise they were good, but not terribly different from other veggie dumplings I've had. Kevin was quite pleased with his shu mai. The slow service was getting his mood riled up, so these really placated him.

Our entree arrived in reasonable time. Kevin had shrimp, scallops and chicken in sambal sauce. He was a little surprised at the spiciness of them, but quite enjoyed it.

I had the ginger duck. There were quite a lot of interesting flavors happening on the plate. There were funky tiny mushrooms, green noodles, and little duck spring rolls in addition to the actual slices of duck.

The duck skin could have been crispier, but the duck meat itself was tender and not dry at all. The flavors of ginger permeated everything on this dish nicely, so I don't think the dish really needed the addition of the sweet ginger sauce on top, but it wasn't bad.

When we were finished they were far faster with the check than they were taking our orders. Our check went down on the table as soon as they brought our boxed-up leftovers. It was immediately snapped up when the credit card was laid down. There were no offers of dessert. I don't know if they even served any.

My verdict on Ginban is that the food is pretty good, but the service needs work. They have been open a few months now and should have worked out the kinks better. Fortunately they deliver. If I'm in the mood for ginger duck or want to try my luck with the red oil dumplings again, I might be better off calling and asking Ginban to bring them to my apartment.

When I came home last night all the vodka in my drink was finally kicking in. I headed straight for my bed when I walked in the door and declared, "I think I'm a little drunk." I suppose that's another reason why I'm better off with delivery. I can't order a fruity cocktail delivered!


noble pig said...

I do hate when the check is slapped down and it's like, "GET OUT"....yeah I'd stick with delivery.

Sue said...

It sounds yummy. The shumai looked really good and the chairs looked quite comfortable. Plus great pictures!

I guess they've figured out that they don't need good service to stay busy, but that is annoying.

Donna-FFW said...

Looks like you both had a great night! Food looks delicious. That Vooooooooooodka drink sounds right up my alley!

The Duo Dishes said...

Those dumplings are mighty green! How funny. They'll probably get the service act together in time.

The Blonde Duck said...

That's a shame the service made the meal less stellar....They won't last long if they keep doing that. An Italian restuarant I did a story on for the paper I worked for did that and they're already struggling--in less than six months!

The Short (dis)Order Cook said...

Cathy - It really was a pain that they hurried us out of there when many of the people at other tables were there when we arrived and were still there when we left!

Sue, DD, and Blondie - I'm not sure they will get the service together and they may still stay in business. The owner has three or four very successful restaurants in this area so I think he's sitting pretty and figures everything he touches will turn to gold.

Donna - Oh yeah. That drink will put you way over the edge. It's nice if you like fruity drinks that aren't too sweet. That is the disadvantage of takout - no bar!

Emily said...

The food sounds delicious. Too bad they didn't have the dumplings you wanted. And sorry the service wasn't very good. I almost think it's worth it if the food is good.

I'd be curious to see what desserts they had. Hope you have better luck with delivery!

Mmm vodka.