Eating to Live on the Outside: Zen Palate

Eating to Live on the Outside is back! After getting bumped last week for my success story's teaser-post—yes, I’m evil—the weekly series dedicated to helping Eat to Livers survive the gloomy swamp of standard American restaurants has returned and this week, Zen Palate is in my sights—click, click, BOOM—let’s hit it!

Clearly, given my love for Yoga, anything with “Zen” in its name is going to pique my interest. At first glance it looks pretty good. It’s a vegetarian place so that automatically ups its chances of being Fuhrman-friendly, but, it’s got a few quirks and trips we’ll have to work through.

“No soup for you!” Well, almost no soup. Restaurant soups make me nervous—salt can be an issue—but I love wakame seaweed, so, I’d be willing to give the Miso Soup a shot; made with white miso broth, wakame, soft tofu, and scallions. If it’s not too salty, I'd order it, wakame is a seriously tasty green—Wakame What?

Next up are the salads. I like all of them but the Spinach Linguine Salad; I prefer to avoid pasta whenever possible. My two favorites are the Kale & Seaweed Salad and the House Salad; together they include mesclun leaves, cherry tomatoes, red onion, enoki, soy vinaigrette, wakame, kale, soft tofu, and soy dressing. Well, if you go easy on the dressing or skip it altogether I don't see much of a problem with any of this. What do you think?

Alright, the appetizers don’t exactly have my heart in races, but here is a couple I’d consider ordering. First, the Peanut Basil Moo-Shu Rolls; prepared with jicama, carrot, mushroom, soy, basil, ginger, peanuts, and rice paper. The rice paper is the only iffy thing here. Eh, I can live with it. Now, the Edamame are a nice option; steamed in the pod and salted. Just ask the wait staff to hold the salt and you’re all set!

Now, I’m not digging the sandwiches—a lot of faux-meats and stuff—onto the rice and noodles and the prix fixe. I’m not thrilled about this section of the menu either, but maybe these options work; if you don’t mind enduring a rice, noodle, or stir-fry concession that is. I like the Stir-Fried Whole-Wheat Noodles with Soy & Vegetables; includes cabbage, mushrooms, carrots, basil, and snow peas. I mainly like it because of the cabbage. The Mango Halo is also kind of interesting; made with mangos, cherry tomatoes, gingko nuts, snow peas, soy nuggets, and sweet kung pau sauce. Personally, I’d ditch the soy nuggets and go easy on the sauce. Also, for both of these I’d go with brown rice over the noodles. How about you?

Under prix fixe I like the Felicity Mushroom and the Eggplant Zentastic. They both come with some sort of roll and rice and combined they’re prepared with shiitake mushrooms, button mushrooms, basil, bamboo shoots, carrots, eggplant, shanghai bok coy, and garlic sauce. Okay, the Felicity Mushroom involves sautéing and both come with rice. So, if you can deal with the sautéing, maybe order brown rice, and nix the rolls, you’d be in decent shape. Works for me!

Whenever I walk into an Asian restaurant I know chances are I'm going to have to deal with rice, oil, and salt—kind of par for the course. Now, as I’ve said before. I don’t eat out very often, but when I do it’s almost like a treat, so I’m more willing to bend the rules than I would be at home. Basically what I’m saying is I can pretty easily deal with all the aforementioned concessions. When you're and Eat to Liver and you're eating out I've got to have low expectations—most of the time.

Oh! And a friend of mine recently paid Zen Palate a visit, here's what she had to say:
I found the tea to be delicious, nectar of the gods, the salad and entree were bland, the presentation beautiful, but the portions were huge.
Okay, so there you have it. Does Zen Palate pass the test? I think it does. Granted, it’s not a slam dunk, but, it’ll do. An Eat to Liver could certainly survive the menu. But what do you think? Your turn! Check out Zen Palate’s menu and let me know how you handle Eating to Live on the Outside. Make a comment or send an email to Until then, eat well. Peace.
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Louise - December 14, 2007 1:18 PM

That's the problem. You're an admitted salt-adict, and the restaurants you review you don't give the sodium content of the dishes. It's eating out, it's supposed to be a treat, so maybe a high salt meal occasionally is okay. Especially vegan and vegetarian restaurants are implicated for high-salt, high oil dishes.

Can you post the sodium content of the meals you review?


sara - December 15, 2007 10:07 PM

Gerry- I think wakame is a high salt item. I've seen it used as a natural substitute for msg. Other than the salt problem this restaurant does sound interesting and not too far away. Maybe someday.

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