Pretty to look at...
Looks appetizing, right?
Would you eat this?
A few weeks ago, a friend and I went to try out a new Japanese eatery in increasingly hip Tai Hang. Zanzo markets itself as a "contemporary Japanese dining bar" and has also been described on occasion as a sake bar.
So I have to admit to being pretty disappointed upon getting there to discover that its sake selection was on the limited side -- nothing at all like that to be found at the amazing Sasagin in Tokyo or Sake Bar Ginn, the sake bar in Lan Kwai Fong whose owner-manager, the wonderful Ayuchi Momose, is a certified sake sommelier and instructor -- and, worse, that its manager didn't seem to know the difference between junmai and honjozo sakes.
Funnily enough, it seemed that while Zanzo's sake selection was more like what you'd expect at an izakaya, its food selection was more like that to be found at a bona fide sake bar. By this, I mean that the food selection was on the limited side to my mind.
Still, if it was good, I'd be happy. And my friend and I were pretty impressed when the first dishes we had ordered appeared and were placed on the table... until we began actually tasting them. For unfortunately, dishes such as spiced Obara konbu and nori (see the upper most photo on this post) and snapper sashimi topped with a spiced radish ponzu vinaigrette (see the middle photo at the top of this post) were far more beautifully presented than they were delicious tasting.
Ironically, the tastiest dish we had was actually the one that had looked the least appetizing. Fortunately, we hadn't realized when ordering it what the "charcoal" vegetables (see this post's third photo) would look like -- and we did go ahead and dig into them when they were placed in front of us.
And to be fair, we did have other delectable dishes at Zanzo that evening. The thing is that, if our experience was anything to go by, it's better to order the hot entrees on the menu there than cold ones! (And for the record, another of the better dishes we had there -- and probably also the most filling -- was the grilled wagyu beef with "hot spring" egg on nishiki rice. :b)