100 Best Restaurants 2011: Zentan
Comments () | Published January 20, 2011
Happy Hour 100 Best Restaurants (2011) 100 Best Restaurants (2010)

Zentan
Address: 1155 14th St., NW, Washington, DC 20005
Phone: 202-379-4366
Neighborhood: Downtown
Cuisines: Sushi, Pan-Asian, Japanese
Opening Hours: Open daily for breakfast 7 to 10:30 and for lunch 12 to 2. Open for dinner Sunday through Thursday 5 to 10:30, Friday and Saturday 5 to 11:30.
Nearby Metro Stops: McPherson Square, Farragut North
Price Range: Expensive
Dress: Upscale Casual
Noise Level: Chatty
Reservations: Recommended
Best Dishes Singapore slaw; robust hot-and-sour soup; sashimi of scallop, yellowtail, mackerel, and fatty tuna; Brick Roll of spicy lobster, barbecue eel, and scallop; duck with lotus pancakes; crispy garlic chicken, a fine-dining take on the stir-fry classic; black
Price Details: Singapore Slaw; chickpea-onion fritters; hot-and-sour soup; garlic chicken; skirt steak; roasted salmon; cherry mojito.

Only the top 40 restaurants were ranked in 2011's Best Restaurants list.

This East-meets-West concept from Toronto-based chef Susur Lee seems bent on disproving the old saw that hotel dining is generic—occasionally to its detriment. The low-lit space looks like a private club, glammed-up high-rollers arrive ready for their close-ups, and dishes look as if they were designed to elicit more “oohs” than sighs of satisfaction.

But the food has surprising depth. A dish described as garlic chicken—conjuring images of Chinese takeout—turns out to be a cleverly contrived loin sporting a dark, Peking-duck-crisp skin. Black cod is sliced into nuggets, glazed, and roasted to a melting richness. A 19-ingredient salad known as Singapore Slaw, tossed tableside, is an intricate interplay of flavor and texture.

Best of all is the sushi bar, where young chef Jason Zheng works his craft. His combinations can be clever, particularly his rolls, but Zheng is anchored in tradition—he knows that style must be balanced by substance. Sushi doesn’t get much better than this.

Also good: Salmon crudo; sashimi plate; roast duck with pancakes and hoisin; rack of lamb; pear and caramel sorbets.

Open Monday through Friday for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, Saturday and Sunday for breakfast and dinner. Expensive.

>> See all of 2011's Best Restaurants

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Posted at 12:00 AM/ET, 01/20/2011 RSS | Print | Permalink | Washingtonian.com Restaurant Reviews