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A chic teriyaki joint

Hot Ginger in Lacey is not your typical strip mall eatery

Hot Ginger’s teriyaki sandwich is worth a try. Photo credit: Jake de Paul

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Announcer:  There are strip mall teriyaki joints and then there are well-decorated pan-Asian eateries that redefine dining next to the Starbucks and Farmers Insurance office.  Hot Ginger in Lacey is nicely designed with attractive lighting and a feel of upscale that takes the diners a little by surprise.

Jason:  I figured Hot Ginger would look like any other Asian restaurant in a strip mall where I cue at the counter to order my food - the menu is written on butcher paper taped to the wall or on unattractive menus at the front - the seats are mismatched and there is a TV playing soap operas - and something sticky catches my hand on the table.  Okay, they're not all like that - but Hot Ginger is certainly not like any I've seen.  The wall and floor accents are nice, the lighting is low and pleasant, we were seated and ordered at our table, and the décor was subtle.

Jake:  It's a cut above the rest, that is certain.

Jason:  And yet the food is excellent and the prices competitive.  

Jake:  I started out my visit with the shrimp spring roll while I checked out the extensive menu options.  Menu?  It's more a small phone book! The spring rolls arrived quickly, and cold, fresh and thick; the combination of the crunch of the greens and the soft of the noodles were perfectly complemented by the mild peanut dipping sauce.

Jason: Both the chicken and the shrimp fried rice were excellent with lots of protein and a less sweet and more savory flavor to the rice and vegetables.  The portion size was large so most people can expect to take leftovers home.

Jake:  With so many pho choices, I finally settled on the steak and brisket bowl.  Once again, Hot Ginger managed to pack several textures into one dish.  And the flavor and aroma of the combination of fresh vegetables, beef broth, steak, and pho noodles is reason enough to return and try them all. Another dish that impressed me was from the banh my menu. The already popular teriyaki is offered as a sandwich as well.  Served on a hoagie roll, it is piled with teriyaki chicken and then topped with assorted fresh vegetables.  The addition of cilantro and crisp sliced jalapenos created an entirely different teriyaki experience.

Jason:  Hot Ginger isn't strictly Japanese in tradition, they have an extensive Thai menu as well and the Phad Thai holds up to any other in town.  The noodles were firm with a nice char to the chicken.  The sauce slightly sweet combined well with the earthiness of the peanuts.

Jake:  There seemed to be a bubble tea on every table when I was there, so I ordered the coffee tea and better understood what the other diners already knew - Hot Ginger mixes a good one.  Fresh, cold, sweet and refreshing - the perfect end to an excellent meal.

HOT GINGER, 1401 Marvin Rd. NE, #306, Lacey, 360.915.7596

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