There’s a lot of traditional Chinese food to try in Athens, but it’s pretty hard to come by something quite like Ginger Asian Cuisine. This long-awaited restaurant was announced in 2012, but it took the better part of a year before it came to fruition. The spot serves Japanese sushi, Chinese lo mein noodles and rice bowls, and Korean kimchi. Also, it serves frozen yogurt in its downstairs area, “Yogurt Alley.” Ginger is a great addition to the vibrant Court Street dining scene for its convenience.
The menu is primarily an assembly-line style affair, much like the burrito places that have become so popular in recent years. The big draw is a build-your-own rice bowl, with white or fried rice or lo mein, where you can also pick some proteins, a sauce which is based on different Asian spices from Thai curry and miso to “General Tso’s” and others. It’s easily a top-notch deal, with the average bowl going for $6 to $7 each.
The Sushi in the meantime is a very tasty set of options, many of them feature shrimp or crab stick, and they tend to run for $8 to $10 for the basic rolls. I like the bobcat roll, shrimp tempura and avocado topped with spicy kani and eel sauce. The heat is nice, and the sushi is pretty decent. It’s certainly the best in town, but then I can only think of two other spots in Athens that currently serve sushi.
Yogurt Alley is a self-serve frozen yogurt concept, which has about eight or so flavors on tap at a time, which is custom made and ordered by the pound. It’s a fine concept, and again, the only spot in town that operates in this way. I’m a fan of the cheesecake flavor, the cookies and cream is packed more with the cream flavor, and I recommend the candy spectrum of yogurts more than the fruity ones.
The self-serve concept is pretty intuitive, especially in a quick-going town like Athens. It’s also especially impressive to see something of a greater focus on healthy foods, which you will have a hard time finding among the other Asian-themed spots in town. You’ll have an easier time coming here and not busting your diet. The price points here are pretty comparable with what else you’ll find on Court Street, maybe just a little on the higher end but in fact still quality.
Ginger fills a niche, definitely a needed one, and the food here is great and worth the money. I foresee it will be a mainstay in Athens for some time.
- The rice bowls are by far the best value food, you get a lot of food for less than $7.
- Sushi here is a little more expensive but it’s also pretty good. There isn’t a good sushi place in Athens that is walking distance from Court Street.
- Yogurt Alley, the frozen yogurt spot downstairs, is also good.