Zengo (Denver)

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Tonight was Jennifer (I-Wen)’s farewell dinner (She’ll be moving to California Saturday to start her new job. Congrats, Jennifer!). She picked the restaurant Zengo, which is one of the series of Modern Mexican cusine restaurants by Richard Sandoval. Seems like Jennifer is a fan of his because last time we dined at Tamayo, which was gourmet Mexican food. Zengo, on the other hand, is more Japanese. (Although the combination of Mexican and Japanese sounded weird to me at first.)

Dinner reservation was at 7 and we had arrived early so I walked around and took some pictures of Denver’s Millenium Bridge – I heard back in 2000, lots of cities in the U.S. had built their own versions of Millenium Bridges. Here’s what Denver’s looks like at night:

We got lucky that the restaurant’s near the bridge! I didn’t know there’s such a beautiful and peaceful spot so close to Downtown Denver.

Finally we got in and the servers offered to take our coat – I had a feeling right there that this is one classy and pricy diner! The place looked very nice! I felt too shy to snap shots here and there and have the flash light disturb all those people’s nights, so I only got a shot of the counter area:

It took a while for us to decide what to order and the waitress (man, this place’s got beautiful waitresses!) kept asking if we wanted something to drink, guess she just wants a really big tip!

After some talking and voting, we’ve picked:

  • “Ceviches – MARISCOS: shrimp / scallop / calamari / orange / aji panca” $11

A very refreshing tarter-sweet seafood starter!

  • “Won Ton Tacos: charred ahi tuna / sushi rice / pickled ginger / mango salsa” $10

Jennfer’s favorite apetitzer. According to her, the taco shell that’s normally made with tortilla is actually made with wonton skin, fried. This dish is spicy and sweet. I really liked how it looked and almost didn’t want to touch it. Haha, maybe I really should’ve left it alone because I made a mes trying to eat it!

But see how happy we are about the food!:

  • “HOT ‘N SOUR EGG DROP SOUP: foie gras~pork dumplings / enoki mushroom / bean sprout” $13

I can’t recall whose idea it was to order soup and I couldn’t say the soup was my most favorite, but the picture sure is! The different colored bowls really made the picture stand out!

  • Entree – “CHAR BROILED Black Codchile chipotle~miso / asparagus / lemon~togarashi aioli” $26

The waitress recommended this to us and OH! Wasn’t I sorry to be associating this cod with the cod I had in Black Eye Pea one time which was tasteless and textureless! This one, just like how the waitress described it, melts in your mouth! It is my most favorite! Very light, but satisfying!

  • “Arroz Frito: fried rice / duck / shrimp / pork / egg / scallion” $8
  • “CHILE ANCHO GRILLED PRAWNS: pozole gouda fondue / won bok” $25

I was glad that they did not use Japanese or Sushi rice for the fried rice. It was a good dish! The prawns, on the other hand, I did not think was worthy. I didn’t like the cheese into which the prawns were dipped.

It looked like we ordered too much, but see how tiny the servings are? I guess it’s all about presence; we were all amazed how beautifully the layouts of the food on the plates are. Especially desserts (you wouldn’t think I’d leave without having desserts, right?!):

  • “White chocolate peanut butter cake: ~ blackberry sorbet / godiva crème anglaise” $9

Recommended by the waitress again. This almost broke my heart~~

  • “Star anise crÈme brulee: ~ strawberry~shiso salad / goslings rum~orange granita” $9

Not crazy about this one: it had liquorice flavored sugar on it. Ugh!

Wow, plus tax and tip, dinner was at least $150!!!!! Thanks, Jennifer, for a wonderful dinner (and night!), but you didn’t have to pay for all of us. I’m going to have to visit you in California in the coming years. There’ll be more great food, I bet! 😉

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