Galangal is a rhizome that looks like ginger, but tastes more like pepper than ginger. It is primarily used in Asian and Indonesian cooking and especially in Thailand. That brings us to Galangal, an amazing restaurant in Christiansted, St. Croix, which serves Southeast Asian cuisine. When you enter the restaurant, you are instantly transported from the Virgin Islands into a sleek and seductive world filled with beautiful artwork, sculptures, and perfect ambient lighting. You are immediately in the right frame of mind to have a wonderful dining experience. From the Galangal website:
Galangal specializes in authentic, exotic South East Asian cuisine, focusing mainly on Thai and a few selected dishes from Vietnam and Malaysia and some Asian fusion. We are proud to use organic greens and vegetables grown by local farmers or at our own herb garden. Our local fishermen provide fresh Mahi, Wahoo and Tuna whenever possible. Together with flown-in Mussels and fresh Salmon we have the assurance of using only the freshest ingredients. We use spices and Curries from Vietnam, Thailand and Indonesia giving our dishes it’s unique and authentic taste. All dishes at Galangal are prepared ala minute (to order) bringing everything fresh to your dining table.
The bar at the center of the restaurant was tended that evening by a gentleman who was dedicated to his craft. We ordered our drinks while reviewing the menu and after they arrived he inquired as to whether they met to our liking. He didn’t want them to be too sweet or too dry, which was interesting as we found them to absolutely perfect. A wine menu is available as is beer, their house lemongrass Sake, and non-alcoholic drinks, all of which pair nicely with your meal at Galangal.
I opted for my usual drink of choice, a martini. But this was no usual martini my friends. This was a coconut martini like no other. How often have I gone out to have a drink and ordered a martini and received a sweet concoction in a martini glass and was told that was indeed a martini. Probably more often than I care to remember. But ladies and gentlemen, this was absolutely a martini and an incredibly good one at that. Throughout the course of dinner I only drank about half of it because this bad boy was truly a strong martini. Thank God I wasn’t driving that night! It looked so innocent with little flecks of coconut swirling throughout, but believe me, it was far from innocent. If you don’t have time for a full sit down dinner, consider stopping in for a drink before or after dinner at Galangal and get your martini on.
A complimentary amuse bouche was brought to our table, which I believe was a piece of cucumber with a piece of salmon on top, drizzled with a little sauce and black sesame seeds. As I don’t eat meat or seafood, I apologize if I got that wrong. It looked wonderful and those at my table did enjoy it. I was asked if there was something wrong with it because I didn’t eat it, but when I explained that I don’t eat meat or seafood, it was quickly taken away from the table.
Having eaten far more than I care to admit to eating on this trip, I skipped ordering an appetizer altogether and ordered an entree. Their curries intrigued me after reading from the menu:
Experiencing the different curries that Thai cuisine has to offer is like exploring the different regions of that land. The cooler North, spicy and hot, the East and South, sweet and savory. The influence of India, Malaysia, China and Portugal all make for a cuisine that is uniquely Thai. Please tell your server how spicy you would like your dish and begin your travels.
My choice that evening was the Red Thai Curry, which was a “creamy mélange of red chilies, fresh vegetables spices, herbs and coconut milk stir-fried with vegetables and tofu.” Served with rice, this was an abundant serving of vegetables and tofu in a creamy curry base. I ordered the Red Thai Curry because it said it was spicy, but it wasn’t spicy at all and more mild at best. I guess I could have indicated that I wanted a spicy curry, but I was afraid of getting it too spicy. My suggestion is to indicate up front if you want a mild, medium, or spicy curry because it looks like they are all prepared mild unless they are otherwise told to make it spicier.
For dessert, and yes there was dessert and no, please don’t lecture me on how I could pass up the appetizer, but not dessert, there was a special on the menu. This was their Crème Brûlée beautifully presented and ready to sink my spoon into as soon as it arrived at the table. I took a few spoonfuls to taste and for reporting purposes only, I swear! The meal was filling, the martini nice and strong, and there was really no room to overindulge after a splendid dinner.
If you are visiting St. Croix for business or vacation, considering stopping into Galangal. Make your reservations early because this restaurant is a highly coveted dining spot among locals and tourists alike. Whether you have a curry, Pad Thai, the Papaya Salad, Tom Ga Gai, Thai Holy Basil and Beef, or a NY Strip Steak, bring your appetite and your sense of adventure as Galangal isn’t for anyone trying to play it safe. Sit back and enjoy an evening complete with fine art, great music, and food that you will love. I was especially impressed with the attentive service we received and we never once felt rushed either before we ordered or after we lingered for a bit after we finished our meal. Put your typical American expectations aside of quick food and enjoy that the food is prepared to order. Be patient and it will be worth it! Put Galangal on your list of must see spots for your next visit to St. Croix.
17 Church Street
Christiansted, St. Croix