Great food fast. This place is one of my faves. If I lived closer I would buy their MISO everyday!
Like eating from a Japanese restaurant's trashcan. This food is awful. Not authentic at all, but worse than that, not edible. The sushi is flavorless and tastes old. They have no clue how to cook udon. The Oyako is very overcooked. The gyoza is flat and tasteless. They can't even get the sauces right. And to top it off, the prices are outrageous. Save your money for Musashino or some place else.
Regular Stop on No-Cooking Nights. My roommate and I frequently go to Zen on those nights you just don't want to cook. We can get something fast that's hot, tasty, and not absolutely terrible for you. Usual dishes are spicy shimp bowl and spicy chicken. Sometimes the spicy tuna rolls, too. Ask for white meat chicken. And we prefer to get brown rice. Zen is consistent and never disappoints. The people are always friendly, and while it's never crowded for a late dinner, be careful when you go for lunch. Also, check nutritional info on their website if you're concerned about that kind of thing. Not everything is "good" for you. Only big complaint - get lids that stay on the bowls the whole ride home!
They try their best.
Food= I had the dashi bowl. Too salty. Brown rice was hard. For really good inexpensive brown rice dishes and rolls, go to Whole Foods (their brown rice is nice & soft, pre-soaked probably). Zen's rolls looked good in the cold case.
Ambience= Better than the Anderson location. No cheesy images of cliched Asian-influenced people here. I think they are still owrking on the exhaust system, because it was smokey in there.
Value= Inexpensive. The ingredients were good. I hope they improve their cooking techniques.
Oyako Bowl!!!. I am addicted to their Oyako bowl! Fresh chicken breast with rice, onions, scallions, scrambled egg, and light soy sauce...fantastic! The ONLY healthy fast food restaurant in town (not to mention cheap and offers big portions!). Just awesome. Not haute cuisine, sure, but generally excellent, with very friendly staff, and LOTS of very healthy options -- no heavy fried/greasy nastiness. Second location open on South Congress now. Great for a lunch or anytime you get hungry and don't wait to wait an hour or eat a disgusting fast food cheeseburger (Ugh!). HIGHLY recommended!
Emperor's New Clothes..... I love Japanese food and really TRIED to like Zen, but I'm sorry, I think it just sucks. I know it's economical and all, but the quality of the food I have had there (sushi as well as main-dish items) was about as good as the stuff you get in the supermarket (and not as good as say, the pre-packaged sushi you get at Central Market). I don't see the value in their bland unappealing food. To me there are other places going for the same econo-market that are better and recieve less praise (like Tokyo 186 for instance.)
The food here at Zen is great for the price...a 35 cent side salad is hard to come by anywhere these days. On the other hand, many of the recipes such as the spicy chicken noodle bowl are dishes I have yet to see anywhere in Japan really.
The optional healthy items are nice, but perhaps more raw fish sushi could also be on the menu.
I like the seating for the restaurant...very authentic.
zenzational!!. clean, cheap and delicious food......easy in and out.....and what a cool place......what more could you ask for?
Best Idea. This is the best idea, FAST FOOD SUSHI! The quality is good (maybe not as great as a top sushi restaurant, but better than average). It is quick and tasty. The tables are clean and the service is friendly. I love being able to just hop into some place and pick up some sushi for not a ton of money.
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