Headed to dinner with Julia, who told me about Zen.
The pictures looked nice, so figured to give that a try. I'm a sucker for good pictures and good food. But isn't most people?
She ordered Beef Tatami, which has slice of beef sashimi (aka raw), wrapped a slice of pear with a red pepper. On top it has green pepper. It also has yuzu wasabi, chili powder, garlic, and ponzu.
I got the takoyaki, which is little pancake battered ball with pieces of octopus inside, pretty delicious.
Also got the karaage, which is Japanese style fried chicken pieces (not nuggets). They are nice chunk of meat which is nice and crispy. But since it's fried, it really fills you up fast.
This is the salmon carpaccio, which has a choice of salmon, escolar, or seabass. In ponzu sauce, pepper, and orange oil. Pretty good for sashimi dish.
This is the Nemo Roll, which is spicy salmon roll on the inside, topped with more Salmon, ponzu mayo, and greens. It's actually pretty good, wouldn't mind getting another one of these.
We decided to try the simmer sweet potato with orange. To our surprise, it dish came cold. It is somewhat sweet with the orange, but mostly the sweet potato itself. It's not bad, but wish it was warm, that way it'll melt in your mouth.
As far as nigiri goes, not pictured was tuna and escolar, the escolar was fresh and delicious, as much as there's controversy over it. We also got Uni just to try it out. It's not bad, but my main concern that I measure to is that it has to be no slimy or loogy-like texture. If it pass that test, I'm all good with it. Not the best uni I've ever had, but it past the mustard.
For weekend nights and popular holidays, a reservation is definitely recommended. The place is small, they have about 6 booths that can seat 4, the rest of the tables one side is against the wall, so they can have 5 tables on each side, but they also reserve that for larger parties. So, plan ahead. Lunch time bento boxes looked good, but they also say that they offer wagyu beef boxes too in limited supply. So, plan ahead.
As the name implied this is a Izakaya, so they have all sorts of sake and alcohol. The food mostly are tapas style, as they have tons to offer, definitely save room to try a little bit from here and there. Julia and I were saying that the price is 1/2 of MF Sushi, but the quality is definitely higher. This is not the same category of Uchi or Kuu, nor do they try to be someone that they're not, but the quality is good, and it's higher than a lot of sushi places in town, that's for sure.
Zen Japanese Izakaya
2015 S. Shepherd Dr
Houston, TX 77019