By Jessica Doran
In recent months, Schenectady has added a number of restaurant spots that are sure to add to its distinguished and varied repertoire. Zen, which just opened on May 1, is one example. The restaurant offers Asian fusion food that is a great palate-pleaser and even offers outdoor seating.
When visiting recently for a friend’s birthday, I was pleasantly surprised and excited to go to a new place that was impressive on the first visit. Although the service was slow at first, we realized that the staff was under the impression that we had a bigger party and were waiting for others to join. Once we corrected the misunderstanding, the service was attentive and quick.
To start off our meal, we ordered a variety of drinks. The mojitos were buy one, get one free during happy hour, and were truly the most delicious mojitos I have ever tried. The birthday girl received a complimentary Flaming Mai Tai that was served in a “volcano” cup with a flame in the middle. When you bring more than four guests, the birthday drink is free. This is a smart way to keep up business, especially in competition with Bombers, whose birthday margaritas are surely the most popular.
We had heard great things about the pad thai at Zen, and sure enough, an overwhelming amount of our 10-person party ordered different versions of the dish. The overall consensus was that the dish was truly delicious and hit the spot, although we agreed that rave reviews were slightly over-exaggerated.
The bar area was large and well-stocked, and looked as if it was perfect to house a lot of people, while being large enough for people to walk around and socialize. Serving delicious drinks like those that I tried, I have no doubts that this place will be one of the new hot spots for Union students. Even though it has only been open for a few weeks, there were a number of students already there for dinner on the day I was there.
Zen also offers an extensive sushi menu, for which they are receiving the most praise. As their Facebook page says, “Pitchers of fusion Mojitos, Asian cuisine with an exotic twist and the friendliest staff you would ever meet!”
This is more than accurate and I am sure that I will be visiting again in the near future. Bring your friends so we can ensure that a place like Zen, which adds variation and excitement to the dining experience in Schenectady, stays for a while to come!