Hopped up on carbs

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October 26, 2009 // UPDATED 9:33 am - October 27, 2009
By: Sarah McKenzie
Sarah McKenzie
Ginger Hop: You had me at Guinness chocolate cake.

Never mind all the interesting satays and curry dishes, my eyes immediately fixated on this special dessert when I saw it on the menu at this new East Hennepin restaurant — a reincarnation of the old Times Bar & Café.

When fall arrives, I turn into a freak for carbs. Bring on the bundt cakes, hearty beers and casseroles. I can’t get enough. So when offered a chance to have my cake with beer already inside it, I did not pass up the opportunity. Thankfully I had somewhere to share this rich brew-infused dish with and a special sweet drink to wash it down with, too — the St. Anthony Sling (Polish blackberry brandy, Juniper organic gin, pineapple juice, grenadine and soda).

I’ve made my way to Ginger Hop a couple of other times in recent weeks. At a Friday afternoon happy hour I had the beef satay marinated in Guinness and the beer battered walleye satay served with wasabi tartar sauce. I preferred the beef and was underwhelmed by the walleye. But at $3 for two satays, it’s hard to be too disappointed. I also tried the cream cheese and caramelized onion wontons — a heavenly combination served with sesame soy sauce. For a Saturday dinner with a friend I tried the vegetable potsticker soup and the wontons once again. With the exception of some seafood entrée options, most of the dishes cost under $10.

Other menu highlights include Bodhisattva Curry (a vegan dish with coconut milk and seasonal vegetables), the Banh Mi (brined and roasted pork loin on a baguette with pickled daikon, carrots, cucumber, cilantro and jalapeno) and the Mr. Fu-Mansky Burger (a blend of ground pork and beef served with purple cabbage and carrot slaw).

The four restaurateurs behind Ginger Hop are Jake Polt, Jon Provenzano, Charles Lodge and Katey Leitch. They’ve previously worked together at Chiang Mai Thai and Sawatdee.  

They’ve transformed the old Times Bar & Café space into a much brighter place with warm yellow hues. They’ve got a clever tagline for the restaurant, too — where “East Meets Northeast.”