Address: 21 Beacon St, Boston, MA 02108
Phone: (617) 371-1230
Zen, which opened in May, actually stretches the concept quite a bit. In a phone interview, owner Raymond Ng says that the clientele, mainly young urban dwellers who are well acquainted with sushi, push for more than the basics. ‘‘We try to go toward contemporary fusion,’’ Ng says, pointing to such dishes as plum duck made with ‘‘real plums imported from Japan,’’ grilled ribeye and grilled rack of lamb, plus stone grill entrees. But Zen covers the bases nicely with De Guan, called De San, who had been at the famed Oishii, creating the sushi. A bowl of chirashi, or scattered raw fish fillets over vinegared rice, is a more serene dish, with its traditional lacquer bowl holding pristine cuts of hamachi, salmon, fluke, and tuna. Fresh, clean tastes and beautifully contrasting textures distinguish the dish. Zen does a fine job with some of the warhorses of maki rolls and does even better with the more fanciful rolls. In a version of inside-out, seared tuna rests on top of a seaweed-wrapped roll filled with cucumber, crunchy salmon roe, and very spicy mayonnaise. Green slices of avocado on alligator maki conceal a center of crunchy shrimp tempura. Along with eel, crabstick, and lots of scallions, the tempura gives the roll plenty of contrasting flavors and texture sensations, as though the whole world of maki rolls was melded into one creation. Grilled rack of lamb with a black pepper sauce is quite good, mostly because the lamb has been carefully cooked so that it’s pink in the center without being too rare, and the sauce has a pleasing piquancy. But with steamed vegetables and some rice, it’s a dish that you could have in many different types of restaurants.