Friday, September 01, 2006


The area where we live has had a major turnover in restaurants since we moved here 5 years ago. We have tried them all. Some of our favorites that are now gone were Rio Bravo, Santa Fe Cattle CO, Copelands and Pargos (we wish El Chico would leave, that is the worst restaurant we have EVER eaten at). Well, there are 2 brand new restaurants in the area that opened in the last couple of weeks. One was Jakes Mountain Grill where Copelands used to be and the other is Zen Bar and Grille where Pargos was.

Last night Bobby and I took the kids to Zen. If we go back we will probably not take the kids. They were kid friendly enough but it was too expensive to have them with us. Unfortunately for them their sign went up at least a month ago so people have been driving by for awhile. Now that people are used to seeing it they are not going in. So far there has been no advertising and they are hoping for good word of mouth. It is a locally owned and operated restaurant.

All of that said I will tell you about our experience there and you can decide if you would like to try it out. We did not change out of our grubby clothes before we went but the first guy we saw coming out was in shorts and a tshirt ala KFed. If you have been to Pargos you will remember the set up. When we walked in the door we were greeted by 3 hosts in white button down shirts and black pants and thought we might be a little out of our element with the kids. We spotted another family though and felt better about being there. That and you have to walk past the sports bar area to get to the non smoking dining room. (I wish every restaurant in TN was smoke free but that probably won't happen for another 10 years or so.)
The host brought crayons and white paper for the kids. Munchkin drew a picture of 2 guys licking ice cream. We told we would sell it on ebay if she wanted but she declined.
Our kids are good eaters at times but others they are not. Last night we ordered a side of fried rice for them to share since we know they will eat that.
We ordered our drinks (diet coke, coke, milk and sprite) and they came pretty quickly. Zen gets extra points for having Coke and not Pepsi. Unfortunately it comes out of the tap so it has that soda from a bar taste. The server was great though at making sure our drinks were full.
Bobby ordered chicken Teriyaki with an extra 6 shrimp for $13.95. I ordered Chicken Curry with rice for $13.95. Both of us thought it was really good. There must be different kinds of curry because this was red curry and I am used to it being a little milder and more yellow. The curry was spicy but good spicy. The portions were not huge but they were satisfying. Neither of us need a box to bring half of our meal home and you could tell the ingredients were really good quality.
After Little Man spilled half his rice in the booth and on the floor, chucked a crayon almost at some ladies head and tried to pour his milk out we decided he has really hit his terrible 2's. It is really unusual for him to act like that but he is trying to get more independent (rereading that we sound like the patrons from Hades!). The kids did spend the time between ordering and getting our food making faces at each other (quietly) in the mirror behind their head. They were so occupied it was almost like we were on a date! :)

Last but not least we ordered a mousse cake for dessert. It was delicious. Our server told us that the company that they get their desserts from is local and that it took her 3 days to find the right Tiaramisu for them.

This was a fantastic restaurant for a date. They seemed to like the kids there but we would not take them if it was later. We were there just before 6pm. It is a little spendy for our budget but it was just about Outback prices.

So, in my opinion if you like food with an Asian flair you should try it out!

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