As I approached Ginger Exchange, I was shocked by the outer appearance of the restaurant. The restaurant resides on Huntington Ave and looks slightly dead, to be honest. There were scratches on the colorless poles outside, and the area it’s located in is slightly dirty so it wasn’t helping the already lackluster appearance of the store. But I walked inside and was in complete awe.
The inside of the restaurant was beautiful. The first thing I noticed was all the red paintings on the walls. The next thing I noticed was the bar, which is the star of the show at Ginger Exchange. There are rows and rows and rows of alcohol--probably housing every type of alcohol that exists. Now, of course, I wasn’t incredibly drawn to the bar, but my parents were definitely happy. Suddenly, leaving the comforting walls of our home wasn’t so bad after all.
We were then greeted by a man who accompanied us to a table and gave us menus. At the time of our arrival, there was a decent amount of people in the restaurant. It wasn’t too packed, but it also wasn’t empty enough to give us an uncomfortable vibe. Light music played in the background, and I felt so at ease. The environment was calm, and I didn’t feel like I had to be too fancy, or too quiet; it was just right.
I didn’t really focus too much on how my parents were feeling because they were simply there for my protection and to pay. Anyway, after we had come to the conclusion of what we wanted to eat, our waiter came back. He politely asked if we wanted anything to drink. I ordered a water-- very unorthodox for me, but I wasn’t feeling anything sweet. I could see my parents eyeing the bar, but they both settled for some water as well. Then we ordered our food. I got Chicken Teriyaki, Bao Baos, Soy Garlic Chicken, and Pork Fried Dumplings.
Maybe it was my hunger getting the best of me, but it felt like hours until our food arrived, which was odd because there weren’t more than four tables of people in the restaurant. The food eventually came and I was ready to dive in. Now, I’m no Gordon Ramsey, but the presentation was amazing. The food was plated nicely and it almost made my $30 meal worth it. I ate a little bit of everything at once.
First, I had some of the pork fried dumplings. They had a nice crispiness to them and they were soft on the inside. The pork meat had such a powerful flavor, but in a good way. I can’t exactly find the words to describe the flavor of the dumplings. All I can say is that whatever they put into it was working. I couldn’t get enough. I kept dipping them into the lightly salted soy sauce even though I didn’t think it added to the already delicious flavor.
The soy garlic chicken was probably my least favorite thing I ate there. Initially, it was absolute perfection. The garlic was very faint and not overpowering at all. There wasn’t actually any “soy” it was more of a sweet taste, which was overpowering. Despite this, it still tasted really good. After the first one, I moved on to the second. That’s when my opinion on the chicken took a turn for the worse. The sweetness had become too much and the garlic suddenly wasn’t so faint. It was as if they were both competing with each other. Their oh-so-drastic flavors didn’t mesh anymore. It tasted like I poured a pound of sugar in my mouth then decided to eat raw garlic. To make matters worse, the chicken started tasting a little odd. It didn’t have the same freshness the first piece had. It almost gave me the sense that it was frozen chicken that they had deep fried and slapped some of the sugar garlic, I mean soy garlic sauce, on there.
The chicken teriyaki tasted like traditional chicken teriyaki. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to discredit the flavor, because it was really good, but it didn’t exceed my expectations. I can’t dock points for the portion size because I only chose the four piece. But the pieces were relatively large so it felt like I had way more.
Finally, the Bao Baos. These, other than the dumplings, were the best thing that I ever had in my life. The bread was so fluffy it was like an explosion of clouds in my mouth--or more realistically--it felt like what cotton candy looks like, but it didn’t quite melt the same way. The Bao Baos were the only portion that I could see being an issue if you eat a lot or like getting your money’s worth because they only give you three. However, I would like to point out that they were incredibly filling, as I ended up eating one of them and was full.
Overall, I would recommend going to Ginger Exchange in Symphony. The food was tasty, the people were friendly, and the inside environment made up for the outside’s shabby appearance.