Zen Japanese Food Fast is making Japanese-inspired cuisine that’s affordable and healthy. I grabbed a curbside meal the other night (with plenty left over for lunch the next day) and it was pretty tasty! All too often, I’ve been defaulting to trashy takeout that leaves me feeling heavy and gross. This was such a wonderful, fresh change!
Adam Weisberg started Zen a little over 20 years ago. He wanted to bring healthy food that was affordable and quick. “There were so few options especially here in Austin back then. There was also so little Japanese cuisine that I thought it would be an opportunity to serve an unfilled need,” said Adam. The inspiration came from his own experiences of enjoying fast food Japanese fair with his father growing up.
I put together a collection of things. I ordered the crispy sweet potatoes and cauliflower small plate, a Tiger Eye sushi roll, and then built my own bowl with organic steak, Buddha mix veggies, ginger miso vinaigrette, and white rice.
A couple of things I LOVED: The sushi roll was excellent! I’ll definitely do curbside sushi there again. The BYOB rice was perfectly sticky and the ginger miso vinaigrette really made the bowl. One thing I think could have been even BETTER was the sweet potato in the small plate. It wasn’t quite cooked enough for my taste. I like my sweet potato super soft in the middle and crispy on the outside!
That being said, the quality of the food is still undeniable. Since Zen’s inception, they’ve had their foods tested by an outside lab so they could share all the great nutritional information with guests. In 2004, they started gluten-free and dairy-free menus and have sense developed relationships with their vendors that has allowed them to source only natural and organic meats and cultivate a farm to table program with local farmers.
Finally, I felt like the price of everything was VERY affordable. The small plate was $4, the roll was $4, and the bowl was just over $8. If you call your order in, you can get a “Family Meal” – even more food for less than it would cost you to purchase everything individually. It’s a great choice if you’re feeding a whole crew! If you visit, I highly recommend building a bowl with a side of sushi.