I have no idea if they have iceberg lettuce in Vietnam, but I was dismayed to see a huge pile of the stuff served with my chicken lettuce wrap at Wild Ginger in Great Neck. So much for the lettuce; the minced chicken—a big bowl of it—could best be described as Vietnamese chicken helper. Where were the fresh herbs, dipping sauce and other garnishes that make lettuce wraps such fun to eat? (Or, by not using the word “Vietnamese” to describe the dish, was Wild Ginger seeking to inoculate itself from this criticism?)
My Vietnamese salad (napa cabbage, jicama, peanuts, cilantro) lacked salt and zip. I can’t report on my companion’s sushi: At the end of a long week, I could only cope with one cuisine. When oh when will we see the end of Asian fusion? (How about this for a bulletproof restaurant concept? Asian-fusion cupcake sliders!)
I used to believe that iceberg lettuce had no culinary raison d’être, but the recent proliferation of iceberg wedges smothered in blue cheese and bacon has proved me wrong. Aside from wedges, though, I submit that iceberg can always be swapped with Boston lettuce for a better result.