Just in time for the season of eating, Now and Zen has graced us with its presence among the culinary haven that lies South of Fifth. Opening in the former Red Ginger space backed by the power duo of La Piaggia’s Alex Maufroy and Benoit Nanquette, Now and Zen offers an inventive selection of Dim Sum and Vietnamese infused dishes created by expert Chef Yung Ngo Hong, previously from Nobu.
The aptly named restaurant gives off every bit of zen vibes. Upon walking in, guests are greeted by a stately door–one that looks like it came straight from Asia. Created with detailed precision and architectural skill, the mighty, dark door leads inside the chic restaurant, evoking a luxe Cantonese teahouse. Decorated in dark, warm colors with accents of gold decor, the atmosphere and the delicious aromas of the cuisine make it both a memorable and authentic Dim Sum dining experience.
Haute Living got a sneak-peek of the menu over the weekend, tasting some of the restaurant’s best offerings. Standouts included those from the first course, the Crunchy Crab Salad and the Ichiban Tuna Tartare. Both starter dishes have completely different flavors that complement each other in a unique way–the first a bit sweeter, with flavors of the eel sauce coming through mixed with the kanikama, crab meat, tempura flakes, scallions and sesame; while the latter is a bit saltier, but equally light and refreshing, made with chopped tuna, avocado, sesame oil, spicy mayo red onions and garlic ponzu sauce.
Aside from the given order of the dim sum course, other must-try dishes include the “Ya,” which is a crispy duck salad with pomegranate, where the duck is deliciously seasoned and cooked to a crisp perfection, along with the “Xiang Cui Xia” dish, which translates to jumbo shrimp seasoned with a nice kick of salt and szechuan pepper. For a special culturally-infused dish, the “Land Yu Hong Kong Style” was our favorite, which is a pan seared branzino filet in oyster sauce. If you’re into spicy, add some of the restaurant’s signature spicy sauce to take the flavors up another notch. The restaurant will also feature a creative selection of sushi by Chef Yung Ngo Hong.
Thursday December 15th marks the spot’s soft opening phase where they will offer dinner and starting January 1st, the restaurant will be fully open for biz offering lunch and dinner 7 days a week.