Before there was money, there were spices. As people gradually realized that spices tasted better on their food than the gold coins they were using, the two currencies switched roles. Now you can exchange your money back into spices by investing in today’s deal: for $20, you get $40 worth of Japanese cuisine and drinks at The Ginger Exchange in Inman Square. It's a good idea to call ahead for seating.
With an extensive lunch, dinner, and sushi menu, diners of all taste-bud proficiency will find something to suit their needs. They also offer a variety of sake, beer, and desserts to complete your experience. For lunch, the chef recommends dishes such as kung pow! (bell peppers, baby corn, peanuts, onions, chili peppers, and chicken ($7.99, $8.99 for beef), or pineapple curry fried rice served with grilled chicken, tofu, or salmon. For dinner, check out the extreme ribs (sweet and smoky with a twist of lime; $10.99 per half rack) or the miso eggplant (miso-glazed Japanese eggplant with seared bok choy, $10.99).
The Ginger Exchange's sushi rolls range from $3.95 to $16.95. Sometimes the name won't always give away what each roll contains, so check the handy menu guide to see what's inside and what's on top. For example, the rockstar isn't filled with geodes and stardust, it's chock-full of truffled rock shrimp tempura ($15.95). The spider is soft-shell crab tempura, cucumber, and tobiko on the inside, with extra tobiko on top ($11.99). To keep one hand open for texting, order the O.M.G. ($14.95), a surf clam, cucumber, and tobiko roll topped with some luxury.
The Ginger Exchange's warm, sleek, and post-postmodern décor creates an inviting atmosphere to enjoy your dishes and rolls. The servers are attentive and more than willing to offer their suggestions, although they might not have an opinion about Elmo vs. Grover. Your Groupon is good for lunch and dinner, but dine-in only. It's good for up to four noshers, but if you treat yourself plus the four symbiotic remorae that constantly circle your dorsal fin, you can combine two Groupons for $80 worth of food.
- Stepping into this ultra-modern dining room is like entering a cool urban oasis. Silver hanging moon lamps, colorful modern art, track lighting, and beautiful tan wood paneling create a hip, yet calming environment. Touches like dark designer chopsticks and hand-made ceramic soy sauce dispensers with oak corks make this place special. – Harding House
- We like one of the complicated Pyro rolls: seared white tuna with eel sauce and crunchy tuna flakes on the outside; avocado, cucumber, and yamagobe (pickled burdock) inside ($15.95)...Sweet potato maki ($4.75) are especially good, simple but smooth and crunchy with tempura batter....Cheesecake rolls ($5.95) are addictive, a warm, mushy blend of sweet cream cheese and bananas, wrapped in crispy pastry and drizzled with ginger-caramel sauce and honey. – Kathleen Burge, Boston Globe
- I had the dumplings as an appetizer and they were absolutely mouth-watering. The sushi was even better, [sic] their selection of specialty rolls will please just about anybody. Their Bluefin was on special for the opening, the freshest I've ever had. I highly recommend this restaurant to anyone, even the pickiest of eaters - they even cater extensively to the vegetarian community. Thumbs way up! – Rebeka, Google Maps
The Ginger Pad
At The Ginger Pad, a casual atmosphere blends with the rich aromas of garlic, thai basil, and chili sauce hanging in the air to help guests forget the world outside. Like a suspension bridge made out of udon noodles, the menu connects distant lands through food, laying out delicious examples of Malaysian, Korean, Japanese, Chinese, Thai, and Vietnamese cuisine. Spring rolls or edamame preempt dives into salty-sweet pad thai or korean beef barbecue. Chopsticks can also lift spicy sichuan shrimp to mouths or gently cradle sushi rolls that combine colorful mango and avocado with fresh tobiko, tuna, salmon, and scallops.