Monday, October 17, 2011

Cheap Eats: Zengo Brunch

Whether you need a mid-morning pick-me-up after a night fueled by too many vodka redbulls, or you just want to grab a Sunday bite with friends, the "Bottomless Brunch" at Zengo is not to be missed. The restaurant is run by Chef and owner Richard Sandoval, winner of Bone Appetit Restauranteur of the Year and Mexico's Toque d'Oro. Part of a series of fusion restaurants at the new Santa Monica Mall, Zengo offers a blend of Latin and Asian tapas. For just $35 you can have as many small plates or morning cocktails that you can fit in your two-hour window. 

A few weekends ago I wrangled up a few friends to stave off their hangovers and join me at the brunch. We sampled most of the menu and had a blast on Zengo's outdoor balcony. With the Santa Monica sunshine and the beach air just a few blocks down, this deal is a fantastic Sunday-Funday that everyone should try. 
After much deliberation, here are our top choices for Bottomless Brunch:

Tastiest Cocktail: Mango Mimosa (right)
Strongest Cocktail: Sake Sangria (top)
Strangest Cocktail: Bacon Bloody Mary (bottom)

Other cocktail options include their Traditional Mimosa, Traditional Bloody Mary, and Lychee Bellini. 

Best Breakfast: Beef Tenderloin Benedict
The classic Eggs Benedict gets an Asian twist with kimchee and a spicier Hollandaise sauce, served atop slider buns. Spicy, gooey, and delicious.

Best Seafood: Thai Shrimp Lettuce Wraps
This dish is definitely something I'd like to recreate and play around with. Shrimp and chorizo coated in Thai spices, tamarind chutney, and a light salsa are served with lettuce and a spicy peanut sauce. 

Best Fusion Dish: Thai Chicken Empanadas
Classic Argentinian empanadas get an Asian twist; stuffed with Thai-seasoned chicken and Oaxaca cheese, covered in a Chile Poblano sauce and mango salsa. Though some empanadas can be too dry, these were moist and full of flavor. Though Zengo's menu offers many creative changes to contemporary classics, these empanadas were hands down my favorite.

Died And Gone To Heaven: Pan Dulce

If you haven't explored Los Angeles' authentic Latin bakeries, you might not be familiar with Pan Dulce. The literal meaning of pan dulce is "sweet bread", and there are many different variations depending on the recipe and its origin. Zengo's version was similar to french toast, served with cinnamon whipped cream and drenched in an orange agave syrup. We must have ordered 7-8 of these between the 6 of us, it disappeared so quickly.

For the $35, we ordered at least two plates of beef tenderloin benedict, peking duk hash, pan dulce, house cured salmon omelets, bacon fried rice, beef sliders, seafood ceviche, sea bass ceviche, chipotle yellow fin tuna roll, Thai shrimp lettuce wraps, house-made meatballs, and Thai chicken empanadas. As for drinks, I lost count by my fifth mimosa... or was it sangria? We left Zengo stuffed, tipsy, and delighted with our morning. I can't wait to take more friends there.


Alisa said...

What a wonderful find,will recommend this to my friends who'll be flying over to SanMo for the IFBC this year.I know they're excited to try out all the wonderful eats here.

Sofia said...

Yum! All of your recipes are giving me some really lovely ideas of things to eat, and they're making me very hungry! Love your photography in general, too <3

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...