Richard Sandoval’s ZENGO

At ZENGO, located at 622 Third Ave. in midtown Manhattan, internationally acclaimed Chef Richard Sandoval serves his artful blend of Latin-Asian flavors. ZENGO translates to give and take, a message that resonates throughout the restaurant’s menu and design.

Seizing upon the natural affinities between Latin and Asian ingredients, Chef Sandoval crafts complex yet beautifully balanced dishes at ZENGO. From Spicy Hamachi Tiradito Ceviche to Achiote-Hoisin Pork Arepas, sauces and spices of varying origin and intensity are combined to create original flavors. In other dishes, ingredients take on new functions: slices of Asian radish serve as ‘tortillas’ in the Peking Duck Daikon Tacos. The menu also mixes and matches preparations of ingredients that are common to both cuisines. Chicken Tandoori is garnished with cilantro and mango salsas, a fresh Latin substitute for coriander and mango chutneys. In the tradition of both cultures, sharing a variety of dishes, large and small, is central to the dynamic dining experience at ZENGO. 

Chef Sandoval and business partner Maestro Placido Domingo have teamed with renowned design firm AvroKo to renovate the tri-level restaurant. Delicate wrought iron screens, reminiscent of gates in a Latin courtyard or, perhaps, traditional Chinese shutters, adorn the windows in the dining room. Suspended rows of reclaimed wooden beams fill the soaring space, which is lit by an 8 foot, wrought iron chandelier crafted in Guadalajara.

The dining room is best viewed from the mezzanine Sake & Shochu Lounge, where guests may sip ZENGO’s well-traveled wines, sakes and shochus. The wine list reflects the emergence of Latin American vineyards from Mexico’s Valley de Guadeloupe to Argentina’s Mendoza Valley in addition to the great wineries of Spain. Akita, Nada and Yamagata are just three of the destinations on the sake menu, which showcases different grades of rice wine as well as regional profiles. Similarly, Zengo’s shochus are single distilled from local ingredients, resulting in spirits with strong, regional flavors. Guests will also be tempted to relax with one of ZENGO’s handcrafted cocktails, including Tamarind-Togarashi and Pomelo-Mescal margaritas, or a Mekhong Pina Horchata. Beer lovers may spin the globe and choose amongst 26 Latin and Asian labels, Negro Modelo, King Fisher and Tiger, to name a few.

Downstairs, La Biblioteca houses a collection of over 400 tequilas and mezcals. Small batch and artisanal spirits are stored alongside bottles from Mexico’s legendary distilleries. The variety invites guests to compare and contrast the flavors and textures imparted by age, region and the highly guarded techniques used by Mexico’s tequila distilling families. The Tequila Librarian is ready with recommendations and a wealth of agave information. La Biblioteca will offer authentic Mexican street foods such as tacos, sopas and fresh empanadas, to accompany Mexico’s finest spirits. Lunch is also offered in La Biblioteca.

Zengo is located at 622 Third Ave. at 40th Street. Reservations can be made by calling 212.808.8110, or online at www.richardsandoval.com. By Gail Schoenberg PR

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