Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Ganga Asian Bistro

Ganga Asian Bistro
Final Grade: A

            Besides trying my hand at making Asian cuisine lately, I’ve also been researching and trying to find new places near me to order it. Luckily, I live in a well-populated area in which any kind of fare can be found within about a five mile radius. For some, that would be wonderful, for others, overwhelming. I have to take the side of the latter on that one though. Now don’t get me wrong, I love having endless resources around me to pick where to eat, but when the pool gets too full, the odds of finding a good place to chow, well, get slimmer. Fortunately, where I dined the other night was quite a find! I can’t take full credit for discovering them, but I can attest to their food, skill in preparing, and overall appeal to customers like myself.
            Ganga Asian Bistro is where my husband and I recently found ourselves on a late Saturday evening. The trendy and boisterous locale is located in a large free-standing building on busy Route 34 in Matawan. The décor is modern and quite eye-catching.  From the oversized fish tank to the enormous Bamboo stalks, you quickly forget you’re in Matawan, an otherwise low-key town. Patrons were dressed to the nines and the place was buzzing with large groups either gathered around the bar or waiting to be seated. Waiting, on that note, is to be expected here as it is both small and already pretty popular. The brightly lit bar is surrounded with only a limited number of stools, but on the outskirts are bar height two-top tables that are available for walk-ins who aren’t willing to wait for a seat.
Pepper Tuna....
           And to be honest, once your eyes have feasted on the delicacies coming out from the kitchen, you won’t want to wait!  We started our dinner with an appetizer of Rock Shrimp Tempura ($10). Sadly, the shrimp were drowning in their citrus mango sauce leaving us to wonder where the tempura went. On a positive note, the tiny shrimp were cooked through perfectly: juicy, plump, and maintaining their flavor. Next, we ordered the Miso Marinated Chilean Sea Bass ($9) served over black rice risotto. What a winner this turned out to be! The fish was seared with precision and presented to us beautifully. The meat was flaky and delicate, not to mention piping hot sitting on its pillow of risotto. The risotto was also well-received; it retained its heartiness yet was admirably creamy underneath the fish. As for sushi, we decided to try the Osaka Box Oshibako ($14) which was described as squares of pressed rice layered with spicy tuna and white tuna topped with a strawberry sauce and tempura chips. This was truly a dish to be “dished” about. The spicy tuna was fresh and the star of the plate, while the strawberry sauce nicely countered the heat of the roll. Finishing off the meal, we enjoyed a Pepper Tuna ($9) starter dish. This was served with a ponzu sauce and was quite large for being listed under the starter category. The tuna was so finely sliced that each bite highlighted its tenderness and peppered crust. It was a light and refreshing option for any diner wanting to try a bunch of plates, like ourselves.

Osaka Box Oshibako...
              Service was fair for the most part, yet I can’t fully present my opinion here as we were sitting at the bar area where the tables were up and about and the wait staff was probably having difficulties keeping tabs. They did check on us a decent amount of times throughout our stay.  Although frankly it was a little too much, to the point where nothing really could have gone wrong after just five minutes. Nonetheless, the timing of each course was good; we never wondered where our dish was nor were we being bombarded with our orders.
           All in all, this was a delicious and different dinner. We were able to try an ample amount of plates that truly displayed the expertise of the kitchen and experience of the staff. The setting was one that left us actually more awake after leaving then before arriving, a much needed effect after dining at many places that leave you ready for a nap! The menu was extensive and provides customers with a great variety of choices that would appeal to almost all palates. I know I will be there again very soon, this time with a reservation made and my appetite ready.
             Ganga Asian Bistro is located at 432 Route 34, Matawan, NJ 07747.

Total score 22/25
Final Grade: A
A: 21-25    B: 16-20    C: 11-15   D: 6-10    F: 0-5
Restaurant Rubric

Food Taste
Bland, boring, overcooked, underdone
Very little flavor, not much aroma
Flavors apparent, basic ability to please palates
Flavor worth discussing, chef’s use of ingredients impressive
Great flavor, taste lingers and leaves diner wanting more
Restaurant service
Inattentive staff, no regard for wait time
Staff average in helpfulness, timing alright, either more/less needed
Staff knowledgeable and attentive to needs without asking, timing very well executed
Remarkable and noteworthy, service so good you forget it is ever an issue elsewhere
Food Presentation
Cover it up please
Sloppy and the eater can tell little thought went into it
Descent presentation: looks alright, not worth a picture but enough to make you hungry
Admirable, it is apparent the chef plated with a consideration for presentation
Presentational talents are here. Looks beautiful and too good to dig in
Prices match quality
Prices are too high for quality
Prices are still too high but not outrageously
Some items are priced accordingly but not all
Most items are priced accordingly
All items are matched accordingly
Would I go back?
Not a chance ever
Looking forward to it
What time should I arrive?!?

1 comment:

  1. glad you liked it there! We love it, now I want to go there. I'm sad they drowned your shrimp- it's typically very good!