Friday, August 13, 2010
The original plan was to get drunk, but along the way, we discovered a great place to eat. Don't many great NYC culinary journeys happen in this way?
Tequila snow cones were the three words that kickstarted our night out. These citrus, hibiscus, and tamarind flavored icy shots came as a flight of 3 for $12 at La Biblioteca, on the downstairs level of E. 40th and 3rd Avenue. And if those weren't enough (in all fairness, they probably were), our planned drinking shenanigans coincided with their Tuesday night tequila tasting, and for $15, we sampled a flight of 4 tequilas from one of the last independent tequila distilleries in Mexico.
I was feeling good. And hungry.
Luckily, the ground floor restaurant, Zengo, that we completely bypassed in favor of all things tequila, was still open. Though not abundant in vegetarian or vegan options, the available veg selections of Asian-Latin cuisine kept the happy buzz going!
The edamame we started with was clearly grilled, which stood out more than any other salted, steamed edamame I've eaten. Great inventive call, Zengo! I chose the crispy tofu for my entree, and was presented with three generous blocks of panko-battered tofu served over a bed of green beans, sprouts, and chunks of ginger and garlic with a sesame-chili sauce. The tofu was perfectly crisp and satisfying, and the lightly spiced sauce was a great complement to the tofu and the sauteed veggies, which were tender and not overcooked.
I do enjoy Latin-Asian fusion, and Zengo is a great spot to visit if you're looking for solid, creative dishes. But really, as long as it's warm outside, it'll be the tequila snowcones that keep luring me back. That's what "fusion" is really all about!
Zengo and La Biblioteca, 622 Third Avenue at 40th Street, 212-808-8110