by Steven Doyle
Nestled in the heart of the Bishop Arts District Zen Sushi celebrated 11-years of yellowtail nigiri and Sakura rolls this past weekend. Chef-owner Michelle Carpenter, whose mother is Japanese, has over thirty years experience of slicing fish with great expertise and it shows in her beautiful and bountiful plates.
Experience the Zen roll wrapped in thinly sliced cucumber filled with tuna and given the lovely roe crown that gives each bite that distinctive crunch.
Particularly delightful on our weekend excursion to celebrate the Zen anniversary we enjoyed jumbo and juicy fried oysters that were ever so elevated to a degree of pillowy lightness that had the table gabbing with glee. A generous portion and very shareable, and a must order before devouring rolls and entrees.
Other starters that are the talk of the tables are the chefs brown sugar-braised carnitas in bao, those spongy soft buns that I am sure each reader has enjoyed. This version gives nod to the neighborhood which certainly has its share of tacos and carnitas, but none as expertly executed as Zen’s.
The list of entrees are not a sushi afterthought, examine duck breast with a soy-brandy-honey glaze served with yam mash and snow peas. Or hullabaloo over the very Zen-like miso-marinated Chilean seabass that is flaky as it is tender.
Meat eaters will not feel left out when they order the flat iron steak accompanied with tempura asparagus and kicked up with those mashed yams.
But wait! Zen is vegan friendly and serves a plethora of rolls created just for that friend in your life. No mixed veggie surprise sadly sauteed in a hurried scramble to appease the conscientious diner.
Please note that Zen stays very busy and reservations are highly suggested. Especially if you and a few of your mates wish to enjoy the Omakase table (4 person minimum) where chef Michelle will create a special 10-course menu as you witness and discuss. Truly special and an eventful evening.
Zen also delivers to the North Oak Cliff area.