Respond to Review of ZenKitchen
Review: As a long time attendee of Caroline Ishii's Zen Kitchen dinners, I definitely made a point of attending opening weekend at her new restaurant! Unfortunately, I wasn't well that day, so I only got to try a few dishes. The menu will be based on what is seasonal - I don't yet know if that means that she'll be changing the menu daily, weekly, or seasonally, but I appreciate the variety. The menu was broken down into appetizers, mains, tapas platters for 2 or more to share, and desserts. Each section had 2-4 options in each, so there was a decent amount of selection. Our table shared all our food - we tried the new Caesar salad, a tapas platter with pickles, tofu skewers, homemade chips, and rice paper rolls; the creamy mushroom soup, and the sundried tomato pesto tartlet. We were served a lovely roasted red pepper dip and bread to start, and a complimentary amuse of rawvioli (yellow beet with pesto filling). Gotta be honest: we weren't entirely thrilled with this particular menu - the tart filling was delicious, but the crust was a little tough and dry. The soup was a little bland, and the tapas platter, while tasty, was a little underwhelming. The new caesar salad was definitely a hit, as were the amuse and roasted pepper dip. I believe that there was supposed to be a complimentary 'happy ending' dessert, but I think there were some difficulties with the heat that weekend. However, this was her opening weekend, and I have had many dinners served by Caroline which I have absolutely adored, and I look forward to more. The restaurant is beautifully renovated, and I would estimate that, with the patio, they could seat about 50 at a time. The wine menu is clearly very well planned, and the overall cost, while pricey for my wallet, was certainly reasonable. I will most definitely return again when I'm feeling 100%, and after they've had some time to settle into the new kitchen. I have a feeling that this will become a great restaurant - Ottawa desperately needed a classy, upscale place for vegans and the vegan-inclined to take a date, a non-vegan they're trying to win over, or themselves for a sophisticated night out, and I think this is going to be it.