Ginger Hop, yet another trendy NE restaurant, proves worth the visit

By Amy Ledig

Gentrification is fraught with downsides. Head over to any of the social science departments for a discussion of the bad things that happen. The one upside, though, is the spate of trendy restaurants that seem to crop up. Ginger Hop, part of the resurgence currently going on in Northeast Minneapolis, is one of several cool spots spreading from Hennepin and the river into the neighborhood. There’s a Punch Pizza across the street, and the original Brasa, Bulldog and Red Stag Supper Club are all just a few blocks away. The area’s turning into a bit of a foodie destination, and I think Ginger Hop deserves a visit.The restaurant bills itself as “East meets Northeast” pan-Asian. The fusion suggested doesn’t really get played up. My friend and I both agreed the combination of woven straw chairs, dark wood, dim-lighting, colorful booths and a wall of windows in the front put us more in mind of an East Coast beach club with just a few Asian accents. The food, on the other hand, drew almost completely from the Asian side of the East meets Northeast equation.

Ginger Hop opened in September to mixed reviews, both on service and food, but we were pretty happy on both counts. Our waiter, one of those nerdy-cute Minneapolis types, was reasonably attentive, and the food was a good match for an early spring day.

The appetizer list was the most tempting. After a lot of debate, we wound up getting a walleye satay – all the satays are $2, so you can try a couple – the calamari and the tempura battered tiger shrimp. The calamari, topped with basil strips, were pretty standard, but the spicy aioli has a nice kick at the end. There were only four tiger shrimp in the order, but they were decently sized and it worked well for a party of two. The walleye satay came with a wasabi tartar sauce that was so good we hung onto it to use with the calamari.

For entrees, I got the bahn mi, Ginger Hop’s take on the Vietnamese classic of thinly shaved pork, pickled daikon, carrots, cilantro, cucumber and jalapeño slices on a baguette. I thought it was good, and sweet potato fries make everything better. My friend’s chicken pad Thai could have used a bit more mixing – all the good stuff was at the bottom of a huge heap of noodles and required a lot of excavation – but it was decent.

Cocktails on the drink menu are in the $8-$9 range, but they’re good, and on the strong side towards the end, so you can be sure you’re not getting swindled, as my friend wisely noted. They’re all pretty creative, tending a little too much toward the sweet end of the spectrum, with lots of grenadine. Still, my Caipiriña was relatively legit for being this far from Brazil, and my friend’s Madame X – lots of berry vodkas with juice – was also good.

Between the sountrack of hipster greatest hits and the solid food offerings, Ginger Hop is a great place to hit if you want to be trendy and a little ahead of the curve.


Ginger Hop is at 201 E Hennepin Ave, Minneapolis. Hours are 11 a.m.-1 a.m. Mon. – Sat. and 3 p.m. – 10 p.m. Sun.