Zen: Asian contemporary at Lyn-Lake

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by Jeremy Iggers | March 28, 2009 • There’s a little bit of everything Asian at Zen, the new “Asian Contemporary” restaurant at 3016 Lyndale Ave. S., Minneapolis: Japanese chawanmushi and tempura (your choice of chicken, beef, tofu or shrimp), Pad Thai and Tom Yum soup from Thailand, Korean short ribs and Vietnamese Pho and lemongrass chicken, and Chinese orange-glazed duck and Zen lo mein. And then there are the fusion dishes that resist classification, like the grilled tuna salad and the chicken breast stuffed with shrimp and scallops. The setting is very attractive – the kind of contemporary look that Shea Architects might have created on a very tight budget.

As for the food, I really can’t tell yet – we learned after we ordered that Monday night was the chef’s night off. At a minimum, Zen promises to be a place that serves pretty standard Asian fare at much nicer-than-average surroundings.Prices are pretty reasonable – most entrees are under $15, and there are fried rice and noodle dishes for under $10.

iggers digest is the blog of jeremy iggers, the tc media alliance’s executive director. jeremy is also the creator of tcfoodies, a local food networking site.

The two entrees that we tried were the very mildly seasoned Zen Seafood Delight soup ($11.95), brimming with clams, mussels, calamari and halibut in a coconut milk broth, and the Zen lo mein with shrimp ($12.95), which was pleasant but rather ordinary. The one dish that really impressed me was the Wonton Napoleon appetizer. The mention of cream cheese in the description led me to expect something along the lines of Leeann Chin’s notorious appetizers, but this turned out to be something very different: a minitower of fried wonton skins, with a layer of cream cheese,a layer of avocado, and a generous mound of crab meat on top.
The wine and beer license is expected next month.
Zen, 3016 Lyndale Ave. S., Minneapolis, 612-822-8896.

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