Gajah Not So Wrong but not so Right Either...

Last week was the "Let's see how many wierd ethnic foods we can consume in 2 days" week!

Thursday lunch was Nada (mexican), Thursday dinner Emanu (ethiopian) and Friday dinner - Gajah Wong (indonesian) in Northside.

Overall - Emanu is still the standout.

I was dining with fellow blogger - Veggie Options - and we decided to try this little dive in Northside. First thing to note - we had no idea where to park! Don't park at the BP - but there's enough street parking within a block or so to figure it out. Our 3rd party actually rode his bike from Northern KY - he's saving our Earth - thank God someone is! We love you John!

So - the appetizers - my friends got the spring rolls - one veggie and one shrimp - both were happy. They enjoyed the stripe of peanut sauce on top although Veggie mentioned she didn't expect the roll to be cold but John was delighted with his all around. I had the soup:

Soto Ayam Cup - Authentic Java chicken soup with Indonesian spices, tumeric and lime leaves. Served with pulled chicken, vermicelli noodles, crispy potatoes, fried shallots, and boiled eggs. Rice and garlic crackers on the side. An Indonesian favorite.

I had to copy and paste that from the site because I never would have remembered everything that was in it! It was literally - hey - let's see what else I can throw in here!!!! The soup was really tasty and by the waitress' suggestion I put all the rice in the soup as well. Only thing lacking - salt salt salt! But very interesting soup...and they bring the variety of sauces to add to the soup - I tried - they added a little somethin somethin...not sure what it was though :-)

Next up was dinner - I don't remember what Veggie got but hey - you'll have to read her blog to find out! John and I got:

Jimbaran Colossal Grilled Prawns ( 4-5 ) $22.50

Marinated with homemade Jimbaran beach sauce from Bali Island recipe. Skewered & grilled. Served with vegetables and kerupuk udang ( shrimp cracker)

Madura Island Chicken Sate ( 4-5 ) $18.50

Skewered chicken, grilled with sweet soy and peanut sauce. Served with " acar " ( pickled cucumber & carrot ). Vegetables of the day and garlic cracker. (8 - 9 oz serving )

Those were the Friday & Saturday night specials so we felt compelled to try them... We were both okay with them. John didn't realize how much work the prawns are to de-shell, etc... and it didn't seem like they were very filling - I mean - it's 4-5 big shrimp - he was done much sooner than us. He liked the sauce on the prawns but they gave him a side of it and he didn't like it was almost Jamaican - sweet, spicy and very flavorful.

How do I know? I stole his side of sauce and at the whole thing on my rice, etc... Why? Cuz I didn't like the sate that much. Now I will preface by saying I'm not a big fan of peanut sauce - but I thought I'd give it a whirl - meh. I would have liked my chicken with that Jimbaran sauce on it much better. There were 5 sticks of chicken and the pieces were small and the chicken was a bit dry. The veggies were over over over cooked and had NO flavor. The rice was really the highlight - it was under the teepee on my plate. The garlic crackers were also surprisingly tasty - mainly saying - they were little chunks of stryofoam but they tasted like garlic - and I like garlic!

So that was dinner - so far - it was okay - but nothing I really though - oh I gotta have that again! Now we did sit outside on the patio and that was nice. It really didn't feel like you were in the middle of the dirty next to a BP - it was peaceful and serene!

Next we decided on dessert - we went for:

Kahlua Cake - $5.50

A rich moist chocolate cake baked with bourbon and kahlua. Topped with whipped cream and drizzled with kahlua and sprinkled with chocolate shavings.

And were we glad we did. Amazing - the best chocolate cake I've ever had in a restaurant! I shared it with John and wish I hadn't!!! :-)

So - my recommendation - head to the Hideaway for dinner and then jaunt down to Gajah and have some cake on the patio - you won't be sorry!

I have to also say - it wasn't cheap - I mean - we each spent about $35 on dinner...

My rating? The meal gets 2 stars and the cake gets 4!!!!

Gajah Wong
Phone: 513.591.3935
3937 Spring Grove Ave.
Cincinnati, Ohio 45223

Gajah Wong West on Urbanspoon


  1. I thought my main was okay too.
    My rule is to give okay food places two tries to fix their previous mistakes. Since it's in Northside and I live 20 minutes from there, I haven't rushed back for seconds. Eventually, hopefully.

  2. i really loved gajah wong the first time i went, but the second time i was pretty underwhelmed. plus we had to wait FOREVER for our food.

    i do agree, that kalhua cake is absolutely divine...