I've been meaning to write about Ginger's Church Street location for months, but every time I go there, the food shows up looking so good that everyone digs in before I can snap those quintessential blogTO resto review photos. This time it nearly happened again but, thankfully, someone spoke up before a chopstick made contact.
Ginger serves up MSG-free Vietnamese dishes in a cafeteria style location where you order at the counter, are given a number and then have a seat in the often crowded cafe til someone speeds over to you with a freshly made order.
I love this location as the food is always good, the staff friendly, you can refill on zesty lemon water as much as you like and, of course, it's home to just as many friendly kings and queens as Zelda's next door - 'cept there's no fierce competition going down on stage.
The first order to arrive is my Lemongrass Tofu & Veggie Springroll with Vermicelli ($5.95).
From the Vegetarian list, this is my favourite dish because it isn't covered in any sauces. The bun-style vermicelli are dressed in lime juice and covered with big chunks of slightly saucy fried tofu, veggies, pickled radish along with the crispiest fried spring roll on this side of Yonge St. The fried elements are offset by steamed veggies and noodles to make this a well balanced dish for the health-conscious.
Next is Curry Tofu & Grilled Eggplant on Rice ($7.25). This was the first time we ordered this and assumed that "grilled eggplant" meant chunks/slices of eggplant. Instead, an entire eggplant (soft and tender with skin carefully removed) appeared alongside tofu covered rice. It was a work of veggie art.
The curry was also really nice -- spicy with a rich nutty flavour to it. Sneaking a few spoonfuls, I thought it was great, but the owner of the dish had one small complaint: not enough curry sauce for the rice! So, she simply got up and asked the guys in the kitchen if she could get a little more sauce. They gladly spooned some more on.
Lastly, the Chicken & Beef Skewers with Teriyaki on U-Don ($7.25) for the meat-lover at the table. Pictured at the top , it was a great deal for three huge skewers of juicy grilled chicken and beef over a big plateful of thick u-don noodles. The famished carnivore can't go wrong with this one.
546 Church St.
Other (potentially good) locations at 252 Carlton St & 521 Bloor West.