Richard Sandoval introduces Test Kitchen: Mexico to Korea at Zengo.
If you haven’t made it out to Zengo yet, put it on the top of your your to do list, now. Among acclaimed Mexican Chef, Richard Sandoval’s finest award winning restaurants, Zengo boasts a modern blend of Latin and Asian flavors in a variety of unique dishes designed for sharing. Sandoval and his culinary team are constantly researching and developing new and exciting recipes to keep their guests up to date on the freshest flavors and most innovative dishes. This January, Sandoval began to showcase some of his newest findings in his Test Kitchen: Mexico to Korea, which was inspired by a recent trip to Guadalajara. I was fortunate enough to sample some of the small plates and cocktails from this new line that prepared by the extremely talented Zengo Chef de Cuisine, Jason Streiff.
The Test Kitchen menu was complete with four taste bud tantalizing dishes and signature cocktails that are guaranteed to leave you wanting more. I started off the evening with the refreshing Watermelon Soju Margarita, made with Agavales Tequila Reposado, Korean charm soju, watermelon juice, sour mix and spicy Serrano pepper. It was the perfect blend of sweetness and spice. I could have easily had a second but I opted to try the equally refreshing, Dimelo, made with Korean Jinro 24 soju, St. Germain elderflower liqueur, Patron Citrónge, thyme simple and grapefruit juice. It had a unique taste, and reminded me a bit of a cross between a mojito and a margarita.
I warmed up my taste buds up with the Kimchi & Tofu Soup. Seasoned with pazole, cabbage, guajillo broth, and decorated with thin tortilla strips, this fiery bowl of spicy deliciousness is sure to clear up those sinuses. Rich with protein and veggies, it’s both healthy and palate pleasing.
Next out of the kitchen were the Achiote Mahi Mahi Tostadas topped with with chile morita salsa, black bean puree, fresh avocado, pickled onion and cabbage slaw. This explosion of bold and enchanting flavors was the perfect accompaniment to this brillant combination of textures.
Although the entire menu was exquisite, I saved my favorites for last. The Roseda Farm’s Beef Cheek Albóndigas were nothing short of incredible. These jumbo tasty Mexican style spicy meatballs were sautéed in finger-licking good chipotle tomato sauce, topped with cotija cheese, and served with a warm baguette.
Also, tied for my favorite was the Spicy Korean Style Rhode Island Squid with rice cakes. Complete with dried shitake mushrooms, scallions, Gochujang and sesame, this amazing bowl far exceeded my expectations. It was absolutely delicious. The texture and taste combination was genius. The small rice cakes were nothing like I had envisioned, rather they reminded me of a tasty thick gourmet pad Thai noodle.
I have never been to a Sandoval restaurant that I didn’t love, and Zengo is no exception. After sampling his new Test Kitchen, I have to say at Zengo is definitely one of my favorite restaurants in the DC area. Dishes from Sandoval’s Test Kitchen: Mexico to Korea are available now through March 31 and range in price from $8 to $14.
Zengo is conveniently located in the heart of Chinatown at 781 7th Street, NW, next to the Gallery Place/Chinatown H Street metro on the red, yellow and green lines. Lunch is available Monday to Friday from 11:30 AM to 2:30 PM, and dinner is served Sunday through Thursday from 5 PM to 10 PM and Friday and Saturday from 5 PM to 12 Midnight. A late night menu is available on Friday and Saturday from 12 Midnight until 1 AM. The Lounge is open from Sunday through Friday from 11:30 AM to 2:30 PM, and dinner Sunday through Thursday from 5 PM to 11 PM; Friday and Saturday from 5 PM to 3 AM. Weekend brunch is offered Saturday and Sunday from 10:30 AM to 2:30 PM. For additional information call (202) 393-2929 or visit www.richardsandoval.com/zengodc.