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