Red Thai Curry
Firestarter: Blue Ginger Asian Fusion Bistro
With one step inside this seductively duskily lit and handsome restaurant outfitted with polished dark wood and mod metal tables, you'll forget you're in a suburban shopping plaza. And all of the food is as delicious as it is beautiful.
The heat is on ...: A low-walled, cast-iron pot with a thin handle; it sort of resembles a heavy, shallow, dynamite-hot kettle. But leave that handle alone!
Hot! Hot! Hot!: This meal makes for a noisy delivery - the hot pot shoots out from the kitchen while fiercely bubbling and squeaking. Heed me when I advise you to eat it slowly from the top down, as the goodies on the blazing bottom will vaporize tongues that go in too quickly.
But man, is it good. In a gingery and coconut-milk-rich curry sauce (that's not overtly spicy) is a colorful mix that includes wispy haricot verts, Asian eggplants, red peppers, onions, sprigs of licorice-y Thai basil and cilantro, mushrooms, thin silky slabs of tofu, the occasional potato chunk and your meat of choice (I like it with unstringy slices of juicy lean pork).
It's served with miso soup and a scoop each of white and brown rice that snap, crackle and pop like a bowl of Rice Krispies. When finished and the kettle is removed, the spot on the table once beneath it will remain hot, so it's a good place to rest a cup of post-prandial tea.