Downtown Decatur is rapidly gaining a reputation for the quality and variety of its restaurants. Among the newest additions is an Asian fusion restaurant in Commerce Square called Green Ginger.
The cuisine in this family-owned restaurant is influenced by Chinese, Thai and Japanese traditions. “The type of food we offer is a selection of Asian food and modified for the local community taste,” said Sam Kok, one of the three owners. “Thai food just makes you feel healthy all the time.”
The name Green Ginger evokes an ingredient popular in Asian cuisine. Green ginger is fresh gingerroot—not pickled, dried or candied.
Kok moved to the United States in 1980, graduated from Hofstra University then worked in the restaurant wholesale distribution business for 12 years before starting a restaurant.
The original Kok family Green Ginger is in Peachtree City, where it has drawn rave reviews from many bloggers. “The service was first-rate, the food: over-the-top in quality, presentation and scrumptious to boot,” one said.
“The dumpling appetizer was perfectly done, the shrimp tempura was great, and the Hawaiian Roll was amazing,” another said.
A third blogger commented, “Great food and service. As good as the best West Coast sushi and sashimi. I highly recommend it!!!!!!!”
Based on the food served at the recent grand opening, owners can expect similar enthusiasm from Decatur diners.
Kok said he chose Decatur for his second location because it’s such a busy, vibrant area. “I see a lot of potential in Decatur,” he said.
The Decatur Green Ginger is in a spot once occupied by Thai Noodle. “I heard the original owner wanted to retire back to Thailand,” said Kok. “I like to rebuild and get to say ‘wow’ at the end.”
The restaurant now has a clean, Asian-influenced look created with the help of interior designer Benjamin Showalter. “We worked very closely together for four months,” Kok said. “I told him how I wanted to lay out the restaurant. He gave me lots of great ideas and helped me pick out the colors.”
While diners will find such familiar Asian favorites as beef teriyaki, hot and sour soup and shrimp tempura, more than half the menu is sushi. In fact, the restaurant’s website is greengingersushi.com.
“I love to eat sushi because it is like artwork. I love the Thai basil roll–it is like eating salad all the time. We offer a sushi known as Love Story–perfect for a couple on a first date. Love story is in the shape of a heart.”
Those who are having trouble deciding what to order can scroll through the iPAD that’s on every table. It has pictures of all food on the menu. Customers still give their orders to the wait staff–iPAD ordering is not available yet.
Green Ginger has a full bar and offers more than 20 specialty cocktails.
It is open for lunch and dinner and may start opening for breakfast “after we settle down,” according to Kok. Hours are Mondays through Thursdays, 11 a.m. – 10 p.m.; Fridays and Saturdays, 11 a.m. - 11 p.m. and on Sundays noon - 10 p.m.