Chef Richard Sandoval’s New “Test Kitchen: Japan to Mexico” Series at Zengo Restaurants Nationwide

Acclaimed Chef Richard Sandoval, who owns and operates the Latin-Asian inspired restaurant Zengo, has introduced an exciting new menu as part of the restaurant’s wildly popular “Test Kitchen” series.  Every few months, Sandoval and his culinary team research and develop new recipes featuring the cuisine and spirits of one Latin and one Asian country. The result is a menu of specialty small plates and cocktails that showcase the flavors and techniques from each region. Each new dish is marked with a special “TK” symbol on the menus at Zengo, noting that they are exclusive and available for a limited time only. The Test Kitchen: Japan to Mexico menu will be offered exclusively at Zengo restaurants nationwide – located in Denver, Washington, D.C., Santa Monica and New York – from Jan. 2, 2013, through March 31, 2013.

We ate at Zengo Santa Monica last night (February 24) and enjoyed bursts of flavors unlike any we have ever had, inspired by the rich and flavorful street foods of Japan and Mexico. We also enjoyed the candlelit al freso table overlooking the sights and sounds of Santa Monica.

Zengo offers an innovative blend of Latin-Asian cultures, as chef Sandoval spins regional ingredients into beautifully balanced dishes designed for sharing. In fact, the new Test Kitchen menu gives guests the opportunity to explore the fusion of Japan and Mexico through an artful blend of seasonal ingredients, with tempting dishes such as achiote shrimp tempura roll made with avocado, jicama, chile, limon, chile toreado aioli and charred scallion; octopus aguachile tiradito with ginger green chile broth, white soy, Asian pear, avocado, nori and sesame; teriyaki pork belly gorditas “sliders”with crispy masa, Oaxaca cheese, guacamole, caramelized pineapple and pickled chilies, as well as kabayaki glazed lamb shank barbacoa with ginger, chiles, tamarind, arroz verde and pickled vegetable.

For dessert, you cannot beat a tempting avocado panacotta comprised of fresh avocado custard, tropical fruit salad and peanut chocolate cookie crumbs.

To complement these distinctive dishes, try a unique cocktails with the flavorful fruits, spices and spirits of Japan and Mexico, including a calamansi old-fashioned cocktailmade with Japanese whiskey, fresh calamansi juice, agave and bitters, as well as a shiro margarita made with nigori, 100% agave blanco tequila, fresh lime juice, simple syrup and house-made sour.

For reservations, menu pricing for specific locations, or additional information, visit

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