I wanted to like Red Ginger in Temecula, CA, specially after reading the glowing reviews people had given them. We are in Temecula for now so we wanted, or needed more like it, our dose of fine Chinese food. Once you have had really good Chinese food it becomes part of your system. I have eaten it in many parts, and must say that even though there are many to be found, only a few reach the higher levels of culinary excellence that we crave and long for on a daily basis.
Red Ginger is nicely decorated, it has a definite charm, and the service staff were all dressed very properly. The female clothing a very nice ethnic vestment, modern and yet ageless. The male clothing all black like many modern restaurants favor these days.
We arrived at 7:45 PM on a Saturday. The place was only 20 percent full. Now, for the food...
Wor Won Ton Soup $9: this soup had a murky tone, not a clean see through broth, but the flavor was there. Accompanied by Shrimp, Chicken, Beef, and of course, Won Tons which in this case had about 30 percent meat inside (we do not favor the won tons that are mostly pasta with no feeling, we like the Hong Kong style, fat and plump), vegetable were done to perfection meaning crispy and yet cooked. Was served hot in temperature, not lukewarm like in some places, we thought it was a very auspicious beginning. 4 Stars.
Lettuce Chicken Wrap $9?: we expected the chicken minced and instead we received large pieces of chicken accompanied by finely shredded carrots, bean sprouts, and thicker cucumber slices, all fresh plus 6 leaves of romaine lettuce also very fresh. A couple of sauces came with this plate, and frankly, that is what made it acceptable. The chicken was a chicken breast sliced a little thick, and you wold put all the ingredients in the lettuce, plus the two sauces. That what was the wrap, and it was explained to us that it was Thailand style. Surprise, surprise! 3 Stars.
Sizzling Seafood Plate $14.55 (this one and the rest of the dishes to follow where from the Chef's Specials, a little more steep on price, but we figured let's see what the chef can do! Shrimp, Scallops and Fish Fillet sautéed with assorted vegetables in chef's special sauce, served in a hot plate. A little overcooked, if you ask me, and the sauce a little overpowering meaning it was swimming on it, still very easy to eat but nothing spectacular. 3.5 Stars.
Black Pepper Beef Tenderloin $13.55: Chunks of tender beef tenderloin stir fried to perfection and glazed with black pepper sauce. This one was tasty, perhaps a lot of pepper sauce but the amount of beef made it more than fair. Very easy to enjoy. 4 Stars.
Spicy Lemon Shrimp and Scallops $14.55: Shrimp, Scallops with bell peppers and onion, in a spicy soy lemon sauce. We were definitely intrigued with this one, but when it arrived it had very little seafood content, way too many bells peppers for the money, and it was a little too sweet, making it taste like a sweet and sour sauce. Scallops had been sliced thin so probably of one scallop they were able to slice four pieces, a bad proposition, way on the sweet side, and overcooked to boot. 3 Stars.
House Special Lo Mein $8.95 (this one, I forgot, not from the Chef Special selection) very mushy, with very little meats, way overcooked where it would clump together, a total disaster but comparable to many mediocre renderings of the same dish. Recommended to be skipped all together. 2 Stars.
All in all, it is not the exceptional 5 Star rating that many well intentioned reviewers had allocated to this eatery, but in the same token, is definitely worth visiting and we imagine we will return, since there is no other game in town. I saw Peking Duck for $12+, and Salt and Pepper Shrimp, with or without the shell. Also heard that their Egg Drop Soup is worth the investment. Service was okey, not to die for. Very classy wardrobe and that is always nice to see. Tea was okay, water from the faucet not the best not the worst.
Final Bill $75+, with Tip, $84. For what we ate not a heck of a bargain. 3.5 Stars.
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