THEME: Romantic Evening
A balmy, hot summer Friday night – and I’m in the mood for a romantic dinner – vegetarian style!
Ambience is important tonight, complete with candles, exquisite wine glasses, sumptuous wine, dimmed lights – I want the whole kit and caboodle. The perfect partner in crime for this “food fare” adventure is my friend, Eric, a professional firefighter and meat and potatoes man with a keen nose for fine wine. This outing is all about exploring the wines with as much gusto as the food. We’re off to the Zen Kitchen, where rumor has it that sommelier David Loan has a cellar with some amazing VQA award winning wines to pair with a veggie dish.
Nestled in Ottawa’s China Town, The Zen Kitchen is a delightful treasure owned by David Loan and his wife Caroline Ishii. We received a warm welcome upon arriving and got to the business of wine very quickly.
David Loan is a sommelier instructor at Algonquin College. We knew we were in good hands with his wine pairing choice of Henry of Pelham Baco Noir 2009 Reserve. Mouth Watering pairing complementing our dishes. This full bodied red wine delighted with the strongly flavored sauces of our meals.
“I would recommend this to the non vegetarian”.
So many delicious choices, but I finally decided on the Grilled House Seitan cutlet, demi-glace fondant potatoes, exotic local mushrooms and greens, onion ring, horseradish creme raice at $22.00. It tasted just like a slow cooked Sunday roast beef, but I could eat it with a clear conscience. And I liked it …. I really liked it.
For dessert, Eric ordered a cheesecake $8.00 and I ordered the decadent chocolate peanut butter pie, $8.00 which Eric helped me to finish. Rich and amazingly mouthwatering – I would pop by just for this dessert.
Chef Caroline came by our table for a visit. Of Japanese descent, Caroline has an MBA and a background in marketing and business. In 2006, Caroline fulfilled her life calling with the grand opening of the Zen Kitchen after returning from a gourmet cooking school in New York. An occasional meat eater, Caroline offers high end vegetarian meals that satisfy the most discerning palate in a healthful way while also supporting local food producers and preserving the natural world.
Just cause you’re single doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy romance and just cause you’re an carnivore doesn’t mean you can’t tease your palate with something totally exotic like a vegetarian meal. Bets are on – you won’t regret it.
Eric’s Overall Impression:
Je vais surement revister ce restaurant. La nouriture etait bonne et une bonne selection de vin, bonne ambience.
Free parking is available in the lot beside ZenKitchen and on the street after 5:30.