Critics' Pick: Gajah Wong

Great Outdoors

Jared M. Holder

Scene: Past a hand-carved wooden rocking horse and a dragon's head fountain, a big teak table awaits you beneath an umbrella of shady trees at Northside's new outdoor spot.After dark, every table is lit with a kerosene lantern, and the courtyard glows beneath festive strings of lights. A steady stream of World music sets the mood, with live music on a small outdoor stage on some nights.

Eats: Traditional Indonesian dishes, richly spiced with garlic, ginger, galanga, lemongrass and chilies (grown in the owners' backyard). Your choice of Shrimp ($16.50), Chicken ($15.50) or Tofu and Tempeh ($14.50), along with one slow-cooked beef dish called Rendang ($18.50). Dishes are served with rice, garlic crackers, spicy relishes called sambals and nicely varied vegetables, from exotic jackfruit to fresh watercress. Sip on an islandy cocktail — like a refreshing British Pimm's Cup — or choose from a variety of loose-leaf teas, flavored coffees and espresso drinks. (Emily Lieb)

GAJAH WONG, 3937 Spring Grove Ave., Northside, 513-591-3935. 5:30-9 p.m. Wednesday-Thursday, 5:30-9:30 Friday-Saturday.

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