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Restaurants & Bars 17

Zengo Weekend Brunch

jsandler | Apr 18, 2011 09:03 AM

I remember when Zengo in Santa Monica place first opened it received a good bit of buzz on this board, but I have not seen it mentioned in a while.

A few weeks ago, they started doing a weekend brunch, wherein you get all you can eat and all you can drink brunch cocktails from this menu: I know the menu says Sunday only, but its currently both Saturday and Sunday from 11:30 to 4:00. I went yesterday and am happy to report I had a great time with very good food.

Here's what we had:

Beef tenderloin bendict (poached egg / kimchee / hollandaise) - I'm not a big fan of beef, but the flavors were good. My companion, who is both a fan of beef and benedicts, loved this. The eggs were perfectly poached.

Peking duck hash (poached egg / poblanos rajas / caramelized onion

plantain) - My favorite dish of the meal. The appearane of the dish wasn't much, but the flavors were great. I could have done without the sweetness from the plantain, but it didn't detract too much from the dish.

Chipotle yellow fin tuna roll (wasabi tobiko / avocado / sesame chipotle rouille) -Decent. Tasted like pretty much any tuna roll. I didn't get anywasabi flavor from the tobiko, but the roll was served with the requiste sides ginger and wasasbi. The chipotle sauce added some smokiness.

Banh mi sliders (achiote pork / pickled vegetables / citrus aioli) - Didn't really remind me too much of an usual Banh mi. The aioli kind of overpowered the meet, but at least tasted good.

Thai shrimp lettuce wraps (chorizo / peanut / cilantro / tamarind chutney) - Unfortuntely, this was the one dish that we did not like. The combination of chorizo and peanut resulted in a very heavy and unpleasent taste that completely hid the shrimp.

Yuca fries - Interesting flavor and texture. Could have been crisper, but I'm not sure if you can really make yuca crispy.

Pork-mushroom gyoza (black vinegar-soy sauce) - Tasted more of mushroom than pork, but very heatry and delicious.

Pan dulce (mexican sweet bread / cinnamon whipped cream / licor 43 / star anise / orange agave syrup) - The one sweet item on the brunch menu (other than fried plantains), but very worthwile. All of the flavors described were present and in perfect balance.

All of the crocktails were tasty as well.

We only made it through about a third of the menu and I look forward to returning and trying more.

Overall, it was a great meal, especially for only $35 a peron. The four cocktails each my companion and I had would have cost more than that a la carte. I also suggest sitting on the balcony overlooking the promenade on a nice day.

395 Santa Monica Place, Santa Monica, CA 90401

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