Zentan: The Other Side of the Menu

If you haven’t visited Zentan recently, you haven’t experienced Zentan reloaded. Executive Chef Jennifer Nguyen who has experience at Pod, Buddakan and Morimoto in her back pocket has turbo-charged and transformed the menu with innovative takes on classic Japanese cuisine.

Hamachi Sashimi

Hamachi Sashimi

Two years in Japan taught us that there is so much more to Japanese food than sushi, which is why you need at least two trips to Zentan to truly get the full experience. One night, make a meal out of their spy themed sushi rolls and outside-the-box nigiri. Another night, experience the Best Side of the Menu: Cooked delicacies including robata skewers, pork belly, black cod, hamachi kama and so much more.

Zentan Miyazaki Hot Rock

Miyazaki Beef Hot Rock

One of Chef Nguyen’s smartest moves is taking advantage of the experiential dining craze. We no longer want to just eat our food. We want to learn about it, understand where it comes from, interact with it and even, cook it ourselves. If this appeals to you, order the Miyazaki Beef Hot Rock and cook beautifully marbled beef right on your tabletop. But don’t get lost in your glass of wine, these delicate slices only need three seconds per side.

Fall Preview: Uni Risotto

Fall Preview: Uni Risotto

Best Thing on the Menu had the opportunity to “spy” on some fall menu items that are set to debut soon, including uni (sea urchin) risotto that is punctuated with edamame and grilled mushrooms and sprinkled with parmesan cheese to give it salty stickiness. We are fully confident that this will be the must try DC dish for fall. Look for our @BTMenu tweets to find out when it debuts on the menu. Also coming soon, Chef Nguyen’s ramen. DC loves its ramen.

Click here for more photos. See a recent Q & A with Chef Nguyen in the Washington Business Journal. See our previous post about Zentan.

Share your favorite Zentan dishes in the comments section.

Poste: Beef Cheek Bourguignon

Poste's Beef Cheek Bourguignon

Dining at Chef Dennis Marron’s Poste is a bit like a perfect trip to the zoo. If you go to Poste for dinner and dine al fresco, you are privy to a table on the upper patio where you can, with reasonable peace and quiet, observe the lower deck post-work antics and human mating rituals. There is no doubt that Poste’s happy hour is popular, but for those that want a great meal and to watch from afar, book a dinner table.

Set in the 1841 General Post Office building, Poste joins a host of other delicious Kimpton restaurants we have profiled on Best Thing on the Menu such as Zentan and Urbana. Like the other two, there is tremendous attention to detail in the cuisine and the boisterous brasserie atmosphere keeps us coming back.

Though we’re sure to hear disagreements in the form of truffle frites, BTM has selected Beef Cheek Bourguignon as the Best Thing on the Menu. The 72-hour braised short ribs are served with bacon, carrots, baby turnips and Dijon whipped potatoes.

Chef Marron accomplishes the impossible in this dish. Beef Bourguignon is typically a heavy, hibernation indulgence designed to warm you up in the winter. But at Poste, their bourguignon is light enough to enjoy in the summer and you don’t leave weighed down or covered in stew stains. The texture of the beef is divine and the seasoning, perfection.

After such a great meal, we might pull for Chef Marron in the Brainfood Burger Battle tomorrow! Tickets still available.

Beef Cheek Bourguignon not your BTM? “Poste” your favorites in the comments section.

Zentan: Fire Dragon

Zentan's Best Thing on the Menu: Fire Dragon Roll

Jiro dreams of dragons, or at least he will after just one bite of DC’s most flavorful sushi roll.

Zentan may have welcomed new star chef Jennifer Nguyen, but we are pleased to report that their sushi roll menu remains unchanged. This is the second scare we’ve had in a couple years, as The Hamilton yoinked Zentan’s head sushi chef when they opened down the street in 2011.

New chef and all, you can still sink your chopsticks into The Best Thing on the Menu:  Fire Dragon – Spicy Tuna, Barbeque Eel, Avocado and Tobiko. This vibrant, saucy, sexy roll features a perfect marriage of spicy tuna and eel. No longer do you have to fight with your dining companion about whether to get the spicy tuna roll or the eel roll. Carpe diem.

Speaking of rolls, Zentan did roll out the red carpet for their new chef in the form of a fancy new website. Check it out by clicking here.  It appears Chef Nguyen, formerly of Morimoto in Philadelphia, has brought a lot to the table including a “Miazaki Beef Hot Rock” served in the traditional cook-it-yourself style, Avocado Sashimi, Pekin Chicken with Bao Buns and so much more. So even if you don’t touch the raw stuff, you’re in for a great meal at Zentan. Plus, the newly re-designed roof deck bar is now open, just in time for another sweltering summer in DC.

Danny Bortnick, Kimpton’s DC director of restaurant operations (and Chef at Firefly), told the Washington Post his ultimate goal is for Zentan to be “one of the top five Asian restaurants in the city.” Congrats Danny, you’ve more than made it.

Fire Dragon not your BTM? Post your favorites in the comments section.