Chen Z Hot Pot + Noodle Bar
2700 W. Anderson Lane
Austin, Texas 78757
Recently, I saw the movie, The Avengers, at the Alamo Drafthouse. I'm a bit of a superhero fan, and to see them all come together in classic superhero form, kept me at the edge of my seat. Personally, I thought it was pretty stellar in 3D.
Anyway, typically I'm an Alamo Drafthouse food fanatic, despite the fact that it turns into a caloric crunch! They have the best fried pickles, spicy mac-n-cheese and potato skins around!
Thinking with our waistlines in mind, we opted to hop next door to try the new restaurant, Chen Z Hot Pot +Noodle Bar.
We were floored with the impeccable interior design that was put into this new spot. With clean, warm wood panneling surrounding, accented by a natural, limestome wall, the place gave off an elegant and chic design. It always lifts the spirit and the appetite to walk into a restaurant with such amazing lighting as well.
Now, before I go on, I must preface this post with the fact that we did not actually order a hot pot. I know, I'm ashamed to not have even tried their namesake, but we were in a bit of a hurry and the waitress kindly suggested they take a bit longer to come out.
We started off with the Sesame Pockets which is a toasted sesame bun stuffed with soy caramelized pork, tossed with cilantro. They were deliciously sweet and juicy and perfect for sharing! This was probably our favorite part of the meal!
The pork mini sammies were probably the most 'Westernized' dish on the menu, and we were craving the Far East, so we ventured to order the "Noodles in Broth" Jumbo Shrimp style. Self-proclaimed, home-style Chinese cooking, Chen Z is proud of their Pan-Asian noodles, made fresh and in-house daily, so we had to give it a try.
Sad to say, the bland description of the dish, unfortunately matched the flavor. We found ourselves scouring the pot to find the few shrimp that were in the bowl. The broth was a bit watery, and I may have had to sprinkle some spicy red pepper oil, for flavor. I must say that the noodles were thick and delicious and probably the best part of the soup dish.
I have a little sad part in my heart as I write this review, because I havent written a single bad review since I started this blog. I am a foodie at heart and I enjoy trying new things. My palate is always open for exotic and interesting flavors. I am not necessarily giving Chen Z a failing grade, I was simply disappointed. I havent given up hope, Chen Z! I will be back to try your Hot Pots in hopes for redemption.
I want to hear about your experience at Chen Z. Tell me whether or not you liked their cuisine.