I like having great food in small restaurants that have no pretension. I believe Wild Ginger in Maplewood, New Jersey is one of them! The restaurant felt cozy and warm and the service was very good!
The menu is simple with not too many choices, but with the basics: Pad Thai, Massaman Curry, Penang Curry, Lo Mein...No frog legs for me (I mainly find them in Thai restaurants).
They have a good and affordable lunch menu served with a soup or vegetable spring roll, brown or white rice. For the entree, you first pick the protein (chicken, tofu, beef or shrimp), then the way it will be prepared. It goes from traditional curry (red, green, Penang, Massaman, Thai) to classic vegetable dishes like broccoli with garlic sauce or string beans with soy and ginger sauce.
So, here comes the interesting part: what did we eat?
First of all, when I have Thai food, I always order a Thai ice tea. It was delicious, refreshing and not too sweet. A perfect start and believe me I got some bad ones!
Then, as an appetizer, we picked the roti canai that is a roti bread served with a curry dip. I was surprised to see a roti in a Thai restaurant as I thought it was more an Indian / Pakistani bread (note: as opposed to the naan, it is an unleavened bread). In fact, Roti can be found all over South Asia with different names and declinations. It van also be found in parts of the Southern Caribbean, particularly in Guyana, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago.
This dish is wonderful! Yes, the bread is a bit greasy because it is fried, but the only regret I have is that I did not order it for myself alone! It was so good! The curry dip is similar to the Massaman curry that has a bit of sweetness. It is more like a sauce than a traditional dip that would be thicker. Definitely an appetizer to recommend!
Then we got the appetizer: we all picked the vegetarian spring roll: good choice and nice presentation. I just wish it was bigger!
For the entree, we tried: the Tofu in the red curry (tomato, potato, string bean, pineapple, onion and coconut milk), Chicken Penang curry (string bean, carrot, broccoli and coconut milk) and tofu with string beans in a soy and ginger sauce. All of these dishes were served with brown rice, that was in fact not brown but had a mix between red and black! I loved it: it was a nice surprise and was a festival of colors with the different dishes (you eat first with your eyes, remember!).
The food was pretty good: I am not a big fan of vegetables, but the string beans were very tasty and cooked to perfection. I preferred the tofu with the string beans rather than the one in the red curry because it was roasted and steamed tofu does not have that much flavor, despite the delicious red curry sauce it was sitting in. The Penang curry was awesome! Not too spicy, good texture and with a bit of sweetness. From the three entrees, it was my favorite!
So it was definitely a nice lunch experience and I hope plenty of people will go enjoy Wild Ginger as we did!
Enjoy (I did)!