[mappress]Having been impressed with Chef Susur Lee’s NY restaurant, Shang, I was eagerly awaiting the opening of Zentan at the Donovan House Hotel. DC, like most other cities has its share of Asian fusion establishments, but Lee’s forward and creative style would be something I would consider to be newish to the city. Now that Zentan has been open for a few months now, there have been mixed reviews on the food and service but I think overall it’s been a success and continues to draw a lively crowd, especially on the weekends. My personal experience lands me in the food and service could use some improvement camp, but it is one of the more exciting dining spots around and will surely be back.
Cost – $$$
Service – C
The wait staff and managers were very pleasant but they clearly needed to communicate better about who was doing and responsible for what. We had multiple servers ask to take our order for drinks and food more than once which isn’t necessarily a bad thing depending on where you go, but I expected more from a place like Zentan.
Food – B
While looking over the menu, almost everything sounded very good but after the meal, I felt somewhat underwhelmed. I tasted the potential with a couple of dishes but a few items fell short including the Singapore Slaw. It’s a signature dish and people seem to love it so I am probably in the minority here. On a positive note, the cocktails were interesting and inventive.
Décor – A
The creative fare is strongly complimented by the ambiance and décor of the restaurant – dark, sleek, trendy and minimal (although some of the seating areas were spaced a bit too close together). The hanging flat metal sheet with candles in the center of the space was an especially attractive piece. The lounge and the sushi bar were also nice dining alternatives.
Feel – B
Zentan aimed to be something different and I really think it’s well on the way to achieving that. The ambiance is cool, the noise level is chatty, and diners seem to be having fun. If the service and food can rise to the décor, I wouldn’t mind coming back on a regular basis.
Zentan, located in the Dononvan House is at 1155 14th St NW. They can be reached at (202) 379-4366.