Zen Zoo Tea Cafe
1517 N. Vine Street
7.24.06 - Monday, 12:30 PM
Myself myself confound
I locked myself out of my house on Monday afternoon. Oopsie. Luckily, these things don't matter much when you're a freelancer with laptop in hand. I made my way to a Starbucks, worked up a storm, then felt the hunger grumble. I don't know why, but the Zen Zoo Tea Cafe sprung to mind - this often passed but never visited small cafe next to Bed Bath and Beyond and the Hungry Cat (if only they served lunch).
It saddens me that this place is normally so empty. Even during the throes of lunch, it was lonely. Myself and maybe three other patrons. It's counter service, so I ponied up to order, only to find out that didn't have what I wanted. I compromised - no biggee. Odd that they didn't have the salad fixins when, as I mentioned, it was a graveyard. Perhaps I missed the spinach salad rush.
I found a table (which is a miracle, as there are only two indoors, plus a counter), leafed through my maggie, and waited for Zen to overtake me.
Tap water - was rather tea-ed out, so I didn't partake in the delicacy.
Crystal Shrimp Dumplings
**Served with hot mustard and hot sauce (but no soy sauce?), these came in a dim sum container. Each of the three dumplings had a too mushy outside and lacked flavor. They were *ok*, just not on par with the realllllly good dumplings out there. Not even in the same stratosphere.
**Didn't like the flavor on this one either - rather funky, and I'm a big miso freak. It did have large chunks of mushroom and tofu, which I loved, but overall, I didn't want to touch this bowl.
Thai Peanut Tofu Salad
**Heaps of sprouts, a bit of lettuce, and loads of peanut dressing and related condiments. Plus a lot of tofu. I liked this dish - flavor was decent, wonderful textures, and a fine substitute for the lettuce-based concoction I had tried to order. Very fresh tasting and yummy.
The damage for the dumplings, soup, and half salad was $12 before tip.
RESTAURANT REPORT CARD
Ambiance - C
Service - C
Food (Taste) - C+
Food (Presentation) - C-
Wine/Drinks - B
Value - B+
Overall Experience - C+
Final word - I don't plan on locking myself again soon, but if I do, I think I'll skip the Zen. Maybe chaos suits me better :)