When I was recently in NYC, I invited my friend Jesiel to dinner one night. We needed to catch-up big time… she recently took a leave of absence from her work and left on a 10-week travel adventure thru India, Hong Kong, Vietnam, Egypt, Morocco, Turkey, Israel and who knows where else… I am sure I missed a few countries.
She suggested Zen Palate a vegetarian restaurant she walks by almost every day and has meant to go in, but never before had. I was her perfect excuse to try it for the first time.
Zen Palate is a modest restaurant located on 9th Ave and 46th street. On 9th Ave you can find their take-out counter and the main entrance to the dining room is on 46th street. They serve Asian-inspired dishes. It’s small and cozy, but nothing out of this world. The photos on their website are far prettier than the actual restaurant I visited. What I did like was their philosophy on cooking…
The name Zen Palate is derived from the Japanese word Zen, meaning “sudden enlightenment,” and the French word Palate, meaning “sense of taste.” Our goal is to enlighten our customers through their sense of taste by offering delicious, vibrant, freshly prepared and beautifully presented vegetarian dishes, served by our passionate servers in a tranquil and modern environment. For over 16 years we have insisted on using the freshest and highest quality vegetarian ingredients (which covers more than 60 different plants and flowers from various culinary cultures!) prepared by our expertly trained chefs.
So while Jesiel is putting me up to speed on her travel experiences, we decide to take a culinary adventure in Zen Palate. We ordered the Pan Seared Vegetable Dumplings, the Hong Kong Curried Noodles and the Sizzling Medallions on an orange sauce with asparagus, mushrooms and carrots.
The food arrived super fast. The dumplings were good… but to my taste, a bit greasy. Something I would find at any dim sum restaurant in the city or any Chinese restaurant here in PR, for that matter – non-eventful in my opinion.
We barely had finished our appetizer when the food came… Curried Noodles and the Sizzling Medallions. The noodles were good, but too spicy for my taste… I have to be careful when ordering curried or other spicy foods in restaurants because my system can’t take too spicy. I know… sounds wimpy for a foodie, but that’s the way it goes. Jesiel enjoyed most of those. The Sizzling Medallions, made from seitan, were awesome!!! I ate them with a side order of brown rice and I only wish there was more sauce for me to drizzle over the rice. Jesiel, a non-vegetarian, was impressed of the flavor and the texture.
We didn’t have any dessert because after all of that we were FULL. And Jesiel is super figure conscious, so I wasn’t going to eat a dessert all by myself…
Zen Palate was very appropriate for my dinner with Jesiel and her Asian continent stories and adventures… let’s see where our real-life adventures take us next, so we can find another fitting restaurant to de-brief.