I'm far from being a sushi afficianado, but it is one of my very favorite foods. After reading about it in none other than FatGuy's Turning the Tables book, I had wanted to try omakase to get a true, full sushi restaurant experience. Then I saw this review in the Dallas Observer and my choice was pretty much set.
Zen Sushi's omakase experience is equal parts omakase (sushi chef makes for you whatever they want) and chef's table, whereby the chef tends to you and your guests personally and you need to book the experience ahead of time. Let Chef Carpenter know a few days in advance of your intention and she'll shop for your meal the day of and make the menu then. So you don't know, until you sit down, what you're getting.
Chef Carpenter draws influence both from traditional Japanese cooking and uses Latin American flavors and ingredients. Many items we had were augmented with lime and jalepeno and were all the better for it.
We had a 9-course meal that moved along briskly. You can also request a wine supplement and Chef Carpenter and her wine steward will collaborate on ideal pairings.
The food was simply stunning. There wasn't a false note anywhere, not one moment where I second-guessed the food or thought "it would have been better if . . . ". She nailed each course and there was a definite progression in flavors and experiences throughout the meal. Best of all, we weren't stuffed or hurting from cheeses and creams and heavy sauces like you'd find in more western or European style tasting menus.
I'd say the highlight was, fittingly enough, a live scallop popped open, sliced then, and served back to us in its own shell. Boom. That's it. No sauce, seasoning, herbs, nothing. And it was so good it just stopped you dead in your tracks and forced you to focus on what was right in front of you. Every morsel was a contemplative and meditative experience.
So save up and get to this place, STAT! It is easily one of the best and maybe even the best dining experience I've had in Dallas.
380 W. 7th St.
Dallas, TX 75208
[DFW] Zen Sushi
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