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Red Ginger Bistro, North Georgetown - Withered.


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Georgetown's Red Ginger Bistro is a big secret culinary gem in Georgetown. I just recently had a cooking class with Howsoon Cham there and he demonstrated creativity with traditional Caribbean dishes by showcasing the French influences/techniques he gained from stints at Vidalia under Jeff Buben and Peter Smith as well as under the tutelage of Chef Cindy Wolfe originally of Georgia Brown's, but now overseeing her own kitchen at Charleston in Baltimore. FYI, this restaurant changed hands, it was originally under the management of famed Jimmy and Sharon Banks (Fish, Wings and Tings, Hibiscus Cafe, and currently at Ginger Cove/Ginger Reef), but Howsoon took over about a year ago, and changed the menu to reflect his interpretation of island cuisine. Howsoon immigrated from Gambia, West Africa to make a name for himself in the culinary field. Caribbean cuisine is usually associated with hot spices such as the "jerk" seasoning of Jamaica and although Howsoon has a free hand with spice, he prefers to let the diner add the heat to his or her own dish. I've attached some photos of the 4 dishes he presented to TasteDC as well as 1 additional dish - his Plantain Crusted Oysters with Chipotle-Lime Cream. Enjoy the pictures, and stop on by Red Ginger when you get a chance on 1564 Wisconsin Ave., NW, it's off the beaten path of G'town, but worth the walk! BTW, it's also closed on Mondays....

Cooking Class Menu for Saturday, October 15th, 2005:

1)Island Butternut Squash Soup,

2)Jamaican Rum and Apple Cider Cured Pork Tenderloin -

with Collard Greens, Sweet Potato Mash and Sugar Cane Whiskey Sauce,

3)Caribbean Mariscada - Trio of Mussels, Shrimp, Chorizo Sausage, and Curry Rice

with Red Bell Peppers, Roma Tomatoes and Scallions, Topped with Walnut Crumbs

4)Coconut Beignets - Coconut Studded Fried Fritters

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MMMmmm, just as a general warning, when I lived in the west indies, very few of the "green" sauces were jalepenos, they were usually something more...dangerous, I wonder what picture six ? was

Howsoon says that in Gambia as well as in his restaurant, he primarily uses habaneros...and he makes a kick ass habanero hot sauce that has a slow burn, rising to an intense afterburn that seriously sets you on fire! Nobody posts much on chili pepper dishes, I would be curious to see more on restaurants that serve dishes that are fiery hot...

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I really liked their apple cider and rum marinated pork loin with sweet potatoes and greens they served at Taste of Georgetown the other weekend. I've never actually eaten there but always wanted to. It does seem overlooked.

As for the Jimmie and Sharon Banks connection, I called for a story I was working on more than two years ago, and whoever answered the phone emphatically said they were never owners. They worked there for a short stint but that was all. That of course was one-sided information and the gentleman I spoke to could have had some personal beef, but he said he was furious with the press for all reporting that it was a Banks operation when it opened. Never got the real story on that...

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I really liked their apple cider and rum marinated pork loin with sweet potatoes and greens they served at Taste of Georgetown the other weekend. I've never actually eaten there but always wanted to. It does seem overlooked.

I had that dish when I dined at Red Ginger earlier this year. As a full portion, I thought it walked a fine line between pleasantly sweet and cloying - successfully!

Here's a link to the eg thread re: Red Ginger.

The location is tough - not in G'town, not in Glover Park. No parking lot. I wasn't crazy about the TVs in the dining room, and the booths seemed positively gargantuan to me. But I liked the food, and thought, overall, that Red Ginger was worth visiting.

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As for the Jimmie and Sharon Banks connection, I called for a story I was working on more than two years ago, and whoever answered the phone emphatically said they were never owners. They worked there for a short stint but that was all.
According to Howsoon, the Banks were just "operators" so I guess that means they had a management contract? The Bank's story is filled with intrigue, but I can't publish any info on it because it would make me liable for a lawsuit...so I won't!
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I noticed a big sign in the window Sunday that indicated a Mexican restaurant will be coming to the space: "opening soon."

I was just driving by and now can't remember the name.

I belive it called Las Canteras or something similar, i see it everynight on he way home and I always think, 'hummmm, fine dining mexican...' I don't have any idea who ownes it or who is opening it but I wish them luck, the tables look set the other night, like they migh be getting close to opening
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I belive it called Las Canteras or something similar, i see it everynight on he way home and I always think, 'hummmm, fine dining mexican...' I don't have any idea who ownes it or who is opening it but I wish them luck, the tables look set the other night, like they migh be getting close to opening
There is a Las Canteras in Adams Morgan that is Peruvian food. And Chef Cham is over at Cafe Trope now.
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