I stopped by Star Ginger Asian Grill & Noodle Bar at 11:40am yesterday and was not at all surprised to encounter a line snaking out the door of this new restaurant. Offering affordably-priced menu items inspired by the street foods of Thailand, Vietnam, and Singapore, Star Ginger is owned by Mai Pham, nationally recognized chef and owner of Sacramento’s Lemon Grass Restaurant and Lemon Grass Asian Grill & Noodle Bar. Star Ginger is located in East Sacramento at the corner of Folsom Boulevard and Alhambra Boulevard.
The contemporary, sun-splashed interior features lots of wood and warm, soothing colors, and Pham has even included a roomy community table for single diners and folks who like to socialize. I tried several dishes: the slow-roasted Kurobuta pork bánh mì (Vietnamese sandwich) was spectacular – piled with super-tender meat, cucumber, cilantro, thin-sliced jalapeño peppers and pickled carrots and daikon, the warm bánh mì offered a lively circus of flavors and a lingering heat on the palate. Other tasty items included Pham’s signature Jungle Curry – a vegetarian Thai yellow curry crammed full of lovely fresh vegetables, chickpeas and big blocks of soft tofu; and a complex, satisfying chicken and egg noodle soup called Thai Kao Soi, enlivened with fried shallots and lime.
3101 Folsom Boulevard, Sacramento, (916) 231-8888; www.starginger.com