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Jinja Bar & Bistro

8900 Holly Ave. NE, Ste. B (Paseo Del Norte Blvd. NE) Send to Phone
Jinja flaunts plenty of pan-Asian style --- without totally dropping the ball on substance.

Lunch & Dinner daily

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Jinja Bar & Bistro Restaurant Review

: Occupying a squat, nondescript building in a strip-mall parking lot, Jinja doesn’t exactly beckon from the outside. But inside, it’s a whole different story: a dark, sultry sanctuary in bamboo and stone, strewn with paper umbrellas and splashy vintage adverts from the Far East. And the menu is equally appealing, albeit weighted toward modern guilty pleasures rather than strictly traditional specialties. Take the salmon wrapped in rice paper and pan-fried: though clearly a fusion-minded invention, it’s a succulent one, served with your choice of rice, a sesame-tinged dipping sauce, sunomono, and mango salsa. (Halibut is served the same way.) Or the so-called Caesar salad, which resembles its namesake only in its use of romaine and Parmesan --- but the gingery dressing, wonton crisps, and lemon grass-scented grilled shrimp have their charms. Spice fiends beware, however: supposedly fiery dishes like the chow fun chili noodles barely register on the Scoville scale. Likewise, cocktail connoisseurs should note that the Polynesian theme is less savvily retro than merely outdated, though the selection of local wines and premium sakés is a hoot. For dessert, there’s an ever-changing cheesecake, perhaps flavored with coffee liqueur on an Oreo-coconut crust with chocolate syrup and vanilla ice cream that is far more nuanced than it sounds. Also located at 5400 Sevilla Ave. NW, Albuquerque, 505-792-8776; and 510 N. Guadalupe, Santa Fe, 505-982-4321.


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