I am always on the lookout for new vegan eateries and it was just the other day, while waiting to get a haircut, I was flipping through a Sacramento magazine and came upon a large add for Star Ginger. What caught my eye were the little green “V” icons next to many of the menu items. Now we vegans know the uncertainty that come with a server’s response of, “let me check on that” when asked if a menu item is vegan so the visual aids made me take instant notice.
I could not wait to try the vegan offerings at Star Ginger so I took the first opportunity to visit for lunch, bringing with me two additional vegan diners to justify sampling multiple choices from the menu.
Having last visited the venue when it was a popular sandwich chain I was impressed with the modern yet distinctly Asian decor. There is no table-side service but then I’m okay with that and the menu over the counter is comprised of dual bright large digital displays. An adjacent HD video screen cycles peaceful images of tasty looking fresh food to help whet your appetite should you need to wait in line to order.
The menu is mostly Vietnamese. I could not tell you if it is traditional or fusion but it is definitely fresh and appealing. My dining party ordered as much as we could reasonably be expected to eat and then added an appetizer of course.
We started off with some Buddha Salad Rolls with seared mushrooms, tofu, leafy greens, mint, bean sprouts and cucumber, wrapped in rice paper and served with a traditional hoisin-peanut sauce. As an added surprise it came with some savory buckwheat noodles topped with basil that were really good.
The Grilled Vegetable Banh Mi (toasted sandwich) had shiitake mushrooms, shredded carrot, shredded radish, thinly sliced cucumber, roasted red bell pepper, cilantro and thinly sliced jalapeÃ±o pepper. It was wonderfully fresh on a crunchy roll but tender-tongues beware – the jalapeÃ±os placed it a bit on the spicy side so you may want to hold off on the Sriracha sauce until you taste it.
I ordered the Jungle Curry – a Thai-inspired yellow curry with tofu, sweet potatoes, broccoli, zucchini, chick peas, green peas and tomato. It was mild enough to not offend those with an aversion to the hotter things. That’s how it should be when Sriracha-philes like me are craving the spicy red rooster sauce. Any of the rice dishes can be served with a choice of premium white jasmine or brown rice.
The majority of the salads are vegan so we opted to try the Ginger Sesame Tofu Salad with seared tofu, greens, cabbage, cilantro, roasted peanuts, crispy noodles, scallions and a ginger-sesame dressing. Seriously, this was a salad that a 13 year old boy was reluctant to share.
Chef Mai Pham, owner of the well-known and highly acclaimed Lemon Grass Restaurant is the culinary force behind Star Ginger. Star Ginger is conveniently located in Mid-town Sacramento and within easy access of the Capital City Freeway.
Star Ginger is at 3101 Folsom Boulevard in Sacramento