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Ready to Thai One On, Maplewood?!

It’s an ‘About Town’ of exotic flavors, thanks to Wild Ginger.

The first thing you might notice walking into the newest entry into the Maplewood eatery scene is a familiar face: many will recognize the lovely and outgoing owner Sophia Dong from another popular restaurant in town (she'd rather not dish on which one).

With , Dong realizes a long-time dream of opening her own place — an ambition embodied in the name she chose:

“I wanted it to be catchy and special,” she cheerfully explains, but don’t let her youthful enthusiasm fool you — she knows exactly what she’s doing. “I really grew up in the industry,” she says. “I’ve been working in restaurants for thirteen years — since I was seventeen.

With , Sophia and her partner Lenny Xu wanted to
bring cosmopolitan flair and international flavor to Maplewood. The rich, dark wood panels that line the long, cozy walls and glistening tiled take-out bar are inspired by New York City — the chefs hail from there, too.

After a soft opening on Saturday and Sunday the restaurant is already getting word of mouth buzz and its own MOL thread. “We wanted to open quietly and take things step by step to make sure we didn’t hit any unknown glitches,” says Sophia. Aside from an initial stressful hour working out the kinks with the credit card machine and phone, everything is going wonderfully well, especially when it comes to the cuisine:

“People are responding very favorably to the dishes,” reported Sophia. “Our menu is really all about healthy, fresh flavors, and we will happily tailor dishes to customers’ tastes.”

In addition to traditional finds like Pad Thai ($10-12) and Curry ($12-14), she expects the crowd favorites to be the Satay ($6), Vietnamese Summer Roll ($7) as well as the house specialties: Wok Glazed Crispy Ginger Duck and Duck Tamarind (both $16).

Yup, it looks like we’ll have one more delicious way to answer the relentless ‘what’s for dinner?!’ whine, and one with exotic flair at that — sure sounds scrumptious to me!

Wild Ginger, 175 Maplewood Avenue NJ 07040 973-378-8822/8823
(Closed Mondays)

Rick July 19, 2011 at 02:20 PM
Congratulations, Sophia. Southeast Asian food was one of the cuisines that we had to travel well out of town to get, so it will be great to have it nearby. Do you plan to do delivery?
Lauren Bright Pacheco July 19, 2011 at 03:32 PM
Rick - no plans for delivery as of yet - but Sophia is open to the idea once they're up and running if there's a demand for it.
Chuck Mahoney August 14, 2011 at 07:03 PM
Four Stars**** my family dined here last week, and we thought the meals were fantastic. The red curry with chicken was amazing, and had a real kick to it. We especially enjoyed that it was filed with fresh veggies. The pad Thai was tasty, and the beef with green beans was delicious. The meal started off on the right foot with Thai lettuce wraps and Thai dumplings - both were wonderful. We are definitely going back!
Ferdinand Lee III September 14, 2011 at 12:02 AM
We order takeout WOW!!!!! awesome. Can't wait to seat for dinner.

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