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Sunday, September 30, 2007


Ginger Rootz: Sorry - Thumbs Down

I took two friends to lunch on Friday at Ginger Rootz, a Chinese restaurant on Ballard Road in the north part of Appleton (2020 N. Ballard RD, 920-738-9688). Nice interior, but the food was inadequate. I ordered a Kung Pao dish that looked nice but violated the delicious tradition of Kung Pao style cooking. The peanuts, for example, were just regular roasted peanuts that were sprinkled on the dish at the end, rather than participants in the flavor medley created during cooking of the dish. The vegetables were also disappointing. They were nothing but chopped water chestnuts with a few large pieces of bell peppers thrown in - and the bell peppers tasted horrible.

I don't know where they got such things, but there was a strange chemical flavor on the bell peppers that I didn't pay attention to at first but almost gagged me when I actually tasted it. The waiter didn't check in on how the food was after I noticed this (we were busy talking), but I did tell the front desk about the unpleasant pepper experience. In fact, I was worried that I had ingested something harmful and asked for a sample of their peppers in case I got food poisoning or something. They brought me a few pieces and there was an odd smell to them. But they assured me they were fresh and high quality. Oh well. (I took them home and after a day, the smell was even worse, but that may have been due to new microbial degradation unrelated to their state in the restaurant. It was a similar smell - but my best guess is that it was a residue from cleaning agents or pesticides. Both the red and the green pepper pieces tasted bad - and I'm a big fan of bell peppers, very familiar with their normal taste.)

Please note that my experience with what I think was some kind of chemical agent in the bell peppers may be extremely unusual. Maybe it was just a new spice I've never encountered, or I may have just had unlucky peppers that naturally tasted bad. But I just heard reports from two other people indicating they also had been unimpressed with the quality of food there. And one of my guests told me that his General Tso's chicken dish also was inadequate, lacking the crispy exterior on the chicken that is traditional for the dish.

Better recipes and perhaps better ingredients might be needed for Ginger Rootz - though I know some people think it's great. But for me, at least for now, I have to give it my dread thumbs down.
WOW Wierd! We love the place! Had two recent meals there! Went Friday with our friends it was wonderful! Really great, started with the Lettuce wraps! All 4 of us loved out food! Its a really great restaurant! Never had a friend who was not happy about the food! I wouls give it 2 thumbs up! A+++ Oct. 2007
As an Asian American, I was raised with traditional Chinese/Japanese/Korean cooking. (My mom was a culinary talent). I really liked the food at this restaurant. I was pleasantly surprised. They had a great variety; we had samples of 11 dishes all complimented with a very good bar as well. I would definitely recommend Ginger Rootz to anyone in the area.
Ginger Rootz is by far the best establishment in Northern Wisconsin, ranging from their fantastic food, family owned atmosphere - Julia is as personable and hands on as an owner can be. You need to give them a second chance! I for one am heading there for dinner this evening!
You do need to give GR a second chance! Other Asian restaurants skimp on the quality of their meat and veggies and hide little bits of fatty meat or chicken inside big globs of greasy, doughy breading, while GR has wonderful fresh veggies, meat & poultry. Their spring rolls are excellent. My favorite dishes are the chicken Pad Thai and the Tangerine Chicken. Perhaps you were there on a night when a new cook was working, or you had something that simply just didn't appeal to you. But if your are experienced eater of Chinese/Asian food, I would be surprised if one didn't like it there. Try it again, and make sure to try something that you normally would eat at a restaurant like that-not something you have never tried before. In comparison, your GR experience should be a lot tastier than other restaurants in the area.
..another thing to mention. You said the Kung Pao you oredered, "violated the delicious tradition of Kung Pao style cooking". I do notice that GR kind of adds their own flair and methods of cooking to dishes, rather than the same predictable recipes you get at other restaurants. To me, that is part of GR's appeal, but if you are someone who likes their food more predicatable, this may not be the place for you. Also, I want to add that some of their portions are sightly smaller than other restaurants, which is refreshing for me to see. I would much rather get a quality porion that I can actually finish, than some mountain of slop on a plate.
Ginger Rootz is a big THUMBS UP!!!!! Its a really great restaurant! We love the food!
We recommend Ginger Rootz as one of the VERY BEST estaurants in the entire FOX RIVER VALLEY! Its a must go to place! Love it! Excellent! Enjoy! 5 stars out of 5!
it is funny how every comment sounds like an advertisement for
GR, hmmm work there perhaps?
Just wanted to say that I do not work there and I am a huge fan on Ginger Rootz along with about ten of my friends. It is my favorite chinese restaurant in all of Fox Valley!
I used to love Ginger Rootz. I used to go there once or twice a week. I haven't been there in 3 years because of poor service. I was left waiting for the bill for over 30 minutes once. I haven't been back since.
The chef(s) must have had an off night on that dish when you visited. My wife and I had a great experience during our visit and we tried 8 different dishes. Our favorite is the Crystal Shrimp. I also had the General's Chicken and it was crispy for me. Ginger Rootz is by far one of the best Asian restaurants I've visited in the Great Lakes state area. The decor is modern and intricate without being garish or overdone. The lighting is warm, and the color scheme was obviously done by a professional interior decorator because the color combinations and textures are simply beautiful. Even the floor is beautiful which is made of nothing but poured\textured concrete. Even the staff is warm, friendly, and attentive. I overheard the owner was going out to personally deliver a to go order! The menu is extremely versatile offering something for any Asian food lover without being cluttered with unnecessary entré. Like sushi? Thai? It's in there! I hope your visit will be as enjoyable as mine and if not, be sure to tell the management as I'm sure they will address any issue you mention.
GingeRootz - Not Impressed

My mom and I just got back from having a lunch there. We both love appetizers and sushi, so we ordered a pork egg roll, steamed dumplings, a spicy shrimp/crab tempura roll, and a asparagus, avocado, cucumber roll. First off, the appetizers came with the meal of the sushi. Isn't it standard practice to have the appetizer first? Also, the tempura on the sushi was burnt and there was no shrimp in the roll. The seaweed was tough and dry. The crab tasted very fishy. The dumplings tasted as if they were frozen and then steamed and served. The waitress NEVER asked us how everything was! That is what makes me the most angry about this place. The food was terrible and the wait staff didn't seem to care about if we liked the food or not. I do not recommend GingeRootz for a sushi lunch. Perhaps their dinner meals are better. It will be awhile until I decide to give it another shot.

Pulaski, WI
My wife and I have been their twice and are going back tonight. We both have recommended GR to freinds and co-workers. No I do not work for GR.
I eat at GR every thursday.... I have never been let down. I absolutly love it. I would recommend it to anyone.
I have eaten asian cuisine all over the country and I really like the dishes I've had at Ginger Rootz. Their wonton soup is delicious and I really enjoy their simple stir fry. I also like that they offer brown rice instead of white(some places don't offer that). It is also a little less expensive than other local asian restaraunts. All in all, a very good place to eat.
I eat out all the time and Ginge Rootz is my fav place in the valley, so I'm kind of surprised the negative post here. I agree with your calls on Good Company (bland) and Sirrocco's (good) but we're on the opposite sides of this one. I probably don't eat as much Asian cuisine I guess, but this is one of the few I do actually enjoy.
Nummu Nummy Nummy, nothing else needs to be said, can't wait to go back, thank goodness for leftovers.
Reviews are subjective as are people's tastes... My wife and her family (in-laws) raves about GR. I Googled and found this blog for a night out with my spouse. Thanks for all the inputs, so I am returning the favor. I found the food, flavoring - acceptable. Tantalizing menu, it should have enough variety to satisfy every taste. The ingredients were good, fresh and well prepared, without being overcooked. The waitress was nice and attentive, albeit she got me egg rolls (vegetable only - tasted to me) instead of the ordered spring rolls. Kitchen was regimented on the menu, not flexible in substitution. Value, I rate a tad on the pricey side. Subtle touches in the interior decor gives GR a charming ambience. Nice mix of western music in the dining area, but I like the oriental selection in the wash room better. Music is a toughie but so important in this genre of restaurant - my preference, mix it up with some contemporary oriental music. GR defintely adds to Appleton's culiniary and culture scene, a welcome destination for a night out (for all ages). Ranking from 1 to 5 (5 being the best), I personally give GR a 3.5 - and yes, I would go back. Correction on the blog's listed address for GR BTW: 2920 N Ballard Rd Appleton, WI 54911. Do the owners a favor if you've graced their establishment, and fill out the survey. The feedback, I hope, would make GR better and more interesting in the years to come. Thanks again for the blog and reviews. Here is the link to GR's survey
We love this place. They crystal shrimp is the best!

I thought I loved this place, yummy food, good drinks, pleasant ambience. Whenever I was in town I'd make a point to stop by at least once.

Just went by tonight, Tuesday night, knowing there is a promotion offering 2 bucks off on appetizers at the bar. The owner, Alice, apparently recognized me from a previous time and came by to chat. I told her how impressed I was with her restaurant, how great it was to unwind at the bar when visiting Appleton.

When my check came, the Tuesday night discount had not been applied. I pointed this out to the bartender, who apologized, then went over to Alice, shaking her head. The bartender didn't explain anything. Alice just went straight to the cash register and made the $8 adjustment.

It was so obvious.

It really made me sad.

Alice thought as an out-of-towner I was unaware of the discount.


Ginge Rootz is definitely the top Asian restaurant in the Valley. And it shows as it always wins the Golden Fork and Post Crescent's awards. The Crab Rangoons are by far the best around, Lettuce Wraps and other appetizers offered are unbeatable! They do fun events like Body sushi, which was an awesome experience. I live right near Ginge Rootz so am there all the time, and I am never disappointed with the food. Sometimes the service is a bit slow, however I can't complain on the friendliness of all the waitstaff, bartenders and owner. All extremely nice people!
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