Monday, September 07, 2009

Restaurant Review - Zen, Omni Orlando Resort, 1500 Masters Blvd, ChampionsGate, FL

Zen inside the OmniFor a fun adult night out with friends, Hubby and I like to go to Zen, a Chinese restaurant located inside the Omni Resort at ChampionsGate. What makes this different than other Chinese restaurants, beside its upscale location and decor, is the "Zen Experience." The Zen Experience is an all-you-can-eat extravaganza served from a special menu at Zen. For $46 per person (another reason we don't go with the kids), you basically choose whatever and how much you want of the selected dishes on the menu and the kitchen keeps bringing them out to you. Kind of like tapas or dim sum, but one price for all. There are lots of selections on the menu including soups, appetizers, entrees, and side dishes (desserts are a separate price). For this visit, we dined with another couple.

To start, we ordered a bottle of sake ($27), cold, and three of our party ordered hot jasmine tea while Hubby ordered an iced tea.

I was used to cold sake being served in wine glasses so I was surprised when we were each given the tiny hot sake cups and the whole bottle in a cooler to the side of our table (like you would see done with a bottle of wine). It made it a little difficult to pour more sake into our cups since the bottle is similar in size to a wine bottle. Also, the jasmine tea was served individually as well with each of us getting our own small pot. Zen uses whole leaves for the tea and leaves them in a basket in the tea pots, so here's a tip: jasmine tea leaves have a tendency to turn bitter if left in the water too long. I took my filter of tea leaves out after a few minutes and that stopped my whole pot from turning bitter.

Our server told us that the soups on the menu were served in bowls individually but everything elSake, tea, and a selection of appetizersse was served in a platter for the table. Hubby and my friend ordered the corn Shrimp Toast!chowder, her husband ordered the wonton soup (which, strangely, is not listed on the special menu but we were able to get it), and I had the hot & sour soup. All the soups were good but we were eager to more on to the rest of the menu. We then ordered five (of the eight available) appetizers for our table -- Sesame Shrimp Toast, Salt & Pepper Calamari with spicy mayo, Hunan Dumplings with peanut sauce, Crispy Scallops which were pounded flat into circle shapes and then deep fried, and Sweet Potato Tempura which turned out to be small rectangular pockets of the potatoes. The appetizers arrived with three sauces on the side -- a duck sauce, spicy mayo, and a plum sauce. Our favorite was the shrimp toast which was greasy, but good. It was pounded out shrimp, with a crispy wrapper, covered with sesame seeds, and cut into triangles.

Black Pepper Shrimp and Crispy SpinachFrom the 10 entrees listed, we ordered the Stir Fry Lobster with Ginger Sauce, witStir Fry Lobster with Ginger Sauceh large chunks of lobster in a clear sauce, with lots of green onions; the Stir Fry Beef with onions, tasty and very tender; and Black Pepper Shrimp with fried spinach - the shrimp were too peppery for me but I loved the spinach. The leaves were crispy and almost translucent and the leaves just melted on your tongue. We also ordered the Sweet and Sour Pork with large chunks of pineapples and peppers. Then we ordered side dishes of Vegetable Fried Rice, Szechuan Green Beans which turned out to not be hot at all, and Singapore Noodles which were curry but not too much, with big shrimp mixed in.

After we had polished off all that, we went back and ordered another shrimp toast, the Zen beef -- exceptional, not spicy, full of flavor and tender as well, a side of Sauteed Asparagus which tasted a little smokey, and another Stir Fry Lobster (can you tell that was our favorite entree?).

For deSelection of options of the Zen Experiencessert (not included in the Zen Experience), we chosBanana Zangoese the Banana Zangoes ($8), two tubes of banana cheesecake wrapped in egg roll paper and deep fried, and sitting on chocolate mousse, whipped cream, and a honey-like sweet sauce. Even though we though we were full, we ordered another one so we each got a tube. It was delicious and not as heavy as I thought it would be, though definitely rich.

Our dinner ended up being a three-hour meal but we were also in no rush. All in all, a great evening out.

Zen website: click here


Anonymous said...

Bookmarked this. Thank you looking for sharing. Positively benefit my time.

Anonymous said...

This is a great article as they all are. I have been wondering less this as some time now. Its great to note down this info. You are fair and balanced.

Copyright © by Restaurant Mom. All rights reserved.