You Are What You Eat: The Star Chef

Last week, we had the opportunity to spend a day on the set of Blue Ginger chef Ming Tsai’s cooking show Simply Ming. Over the next few weeks, we’ll be bringing you interviews and stories from our time at the show. Today, a very special edition of You Are What You Eat with Ming himself.

Name: Ming Tsai
Occupation: Chef, Television Host
Neighborhood: Natick

MP: Which restaurant, aside from your own, is your favorite in Boston?
Ming: There are many favorite restaurants depending on style of food. It’s like asking a chef what’s your favorite dish! Hands down if you want New French, New American food, it’s Ken Oringer. (NB: Chef Oringer was sitting next to Chef Tsai throughout the interview) His restaurant Clio is actually celebrating ten years. It’s just pristine food. Kenny happens to be not only next to me, but he’s one of my best friends. And then, funny enough, in the same building, in the Eliot Hotel, there’s Uni, which is a fantastic sashimi bar. I love raw fish and sashimi. I trained in Japan. As good at that level of Uni is Chef Ting, who has Oishii Boston. He makes fantastic sushi. Kenny doesn’t really do sushi at Uni, he does sashimi. Oishii Boston is really the Nobu of Boston. He does that new type of Japanese food. Fantastic. For Italian, I love Via Matta. Chinese, for dim sum, I love China Pearl Restaurant, Taiwan Cafe as well. For Mexican, there’s a Patrick Lyons joint called La Verdad, which, believe it or not, Kenny’s probably involved in that one as well. Best noodles are in Porter Square at a place called Sapporo Ramen. Largest $8.99 bowl of noodles, you get the miso butter, it’s delicious. And, don’t forget the Japan café…Japonaise Bakery (120 Beacon St, Brookline, (617) 566-7730). It has the Japanese donut, which is filled with red mung bean, no, sorry, the azuki bean with cream: best dessert ever.

MP: That’s great. What would you say is the best kept dining secret in Boston?

Ming: Hmm. I certainly don’t think enough people have been to Oishii Boston yet. You know, it’s kind of a little bit off the beaten track. I guarantee if you discover it, you’ll go back. It’s absolutely delicious. Just pristine Japanese products, produce, meat, seafood, the whole nine yards. I don’t know if Sapporo Ramen is a secret anymore. All of the chefs have been talking about it for ten to fifteen years, so I’m not sure if it’s a secret, but if you have ten bucks to spend on a great lunch, that’s the place.

MP: And where do you like to go drinking?
Ming: I don’t drink. But when I do (laughs) I like Silvertone. They have fantastic mac and cheese besides great cocktails. Just a great little atmosphere. I like the enoteca area of Via Matta. I think that’s always fun. Toro is a Spanish place has fantastic sangria and something called a Peron, which is this thing you fill with champagne and it brings me back to my college days, you bring it up and you shoot champagne into your mouth from a couple feet away, which is always kind of fun. And then just down the road from there is Stella. Yeah, I think Stella’s a nice hangout. And Pho Republique. That’s a great hang, too. I love that place.

[Photo: Ming Tsai]

You Are What You Eat: The Star Chef