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Top Chef Masters dinner featuring top scoring dishes by Susur Lee offered at ZENTAN June 24.


Top Chef Masters Finalist, Susur Lee. Photo courtesy of Bravotv.com

ZENTAN, located in Donovan House hotel, is offering Washingtonians the opportunity of a lifetime — to have an authentic Top Chef Masters judge experience! For one night only, ZENTAN will offer a five-course dinner featuring top scoring dishes from Executive Chef Susur Lee’s appearance on this season of Top Chef Masters on BRAVO. On Thursday, June 24, guests can make reservations to enjoy Chef Lee’s famed dishes, including his winning Roast Chicken Curry dish, for which the Top Chef Masters judges awarded him the highest ‘elimination round’ score in the show’s history – an amazing 19 1/2 stars!

The five-course dinner will include Chef Lee’s culinary creations such his signature dish, the 19-ingredient Singapore Slaw with salted plum dressing as an appetizer, which is one of my personal all time favorite dishes, followed by Roast Chicken Curry and Korean Style Skirt Steak with Roasted Cauliflower and Austrian Dumplings. Other courses may include the Indochine Roasted Leg of Lamb with Lamb Meatballs, Pine Nuts, and Dry Cherry Sauce from episode 7, the Royal of Steamed Scallop with Cantonese Black Bean Sauce, Dim Sum Shrimp and Crab Croquette, Tuna with Wasabi Mousse, Pickled Cucumber, and Artichoke with Charred Sea Bream, and the Lamb Thailandaise with Chiang Mai Sausage, Peanut and Green Curry Sauces, Mint Chutney and Polenta, all from the final episode 10. For dessert, guests will be treated to an assortment of sweets from the Top Chef Masters wedding episode.

Diners will also have the opportunity to meet the world renown Chef Lee, who will be signing copies of his book Susur Lee: A Culinary Life. His book artfully describes his creative journey and evolution to becoming a master chef. The book itself is as amazing as the Chef himself. Full of history and personal anecdotes, the two volume  — one describing Susur ’s development as a chef, the other featuring his most sought-after recipes —are bound together in an intricate and innovative presentation that resembles a Chinese puzzle box. Another masterpiece by Susur. The book will be available for purchase at the restaurant for $40.

Reservations to experience this once in a lifetime and unique dining experience with Susur Lee are available from 6 PM to 9 PM exclusively on June 24th. Priced at $140 per person (excluding tax and gratuity), guests will have the exclusive opportunity to enjoy Susur’s impressive dishes from Top Chef Masters. These mouthwatering recipes have been tested by the judges, and on this particular evening will be paired with champagne or premium sake.

Check out recipes from Susur Lee’s Top Chep Masters dishes such as Berries with Light Cream Chees (episode 5); East Meets West Fruit Plate with Blackberry “Ravioli” & Thai Basil(episode 4 -See photo on right); and Sockeyed Salmon, Paprika Potatoes, Almond Slivers & Almond Milk (episode 4).

ZENTAN is located in Donovan House – a Thompson Hotel (1155 14th Street, N.W.) For more information and reservations call 202.379.4366 or visit www.zentanrestaurant.com

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Capital Cooking Cookbook is as well-rounded as our nation’s capital with recipes from DC’s best chefs.

Lauren DeSantis holding the Capital Cooking Cookbook.

On Wednesday, May 26, 2010 at Union Row in the heart of the U-street corridor in Washington, DC Lauren DeSantis, host and producer of local television series and blog the Capital Cooking  Show which highlights the abundance of cultural influences on the culinary industry in Washington, DC debuted her latest project — the Capital Cooking cookbook. The gathering in the lobby and private party room of her posh condo building was packed with friends, fans, foodies, wine lovers, and fellow food bloggers. Local DC area chefs, Dan Giusti of 1789, Dean Gold of Dino, Jamie Montes de Oca, Jr. of ZENTAN and Sarah Smith, of Cashion’s Eat Place each provided guests with samples of their restaurant’s fare. Chef Ana Victoria from the Embassy of Panama offered samples of her recipe featured in the cookbook, Shrimp and Fish Ceviche with Pixbae which had an interesting and unique ingredient from the Panama palm tree, “Pixbae.” Co-founders, Brett Thompson and Heath Hall of Pork Barrel BBQ offered pulled Pork Barrel BBQ sandwiches with bread pudding. In addition, local JD Gourmet which produces aged Balsamic Vinegar and Olive Oil blends, showcased their balsamic vinaigrette by offering it drizzled on a fig, strawberry spinach salad.

1789 Executive Chef, Dan Giusti preparing his dish.

My favorites were Giusti’s single bite of fresh local asparagus with big eye tuna Surryano Ham, and smoked paprika, the pulled Pork Barrel BBQ sandwich with bread pudding and Chef Gold’s meatballs, which were tender, juicy and very flavorful. I swore that they were better than my mother’s! (Sorry, Mom!)

The enormous colorful cake by Mallow Drama, Inc.  was quite a spectacle in the shape of the Capitol building wearing a toque, which is the appropriate and clever logo of the Capital Cooking show. Many attendees were eager to take a photo of the fanciful eatable art, including myself.

In addition to offering samples of their featured recipe in the cookbook, Chefs Dan Giusti of 1789, Ana Victoria at the Embassy of Panama, Brett Thompson and Heath Hall of Pork Barrel BBQ were guests on the Capital Cooking show and were on hand to autograph their photos or recipes in the book. Apparently, I was one of the only guests to ask for their autographs. It makes perfect sense to me. They’re there — why not?!!

The 129 page cookbook is filled with recipes, sample menus for party planning, and photos from guests of her show — and with every recipe or photo there is a wonderful story about how dreams come true. Co-founders, Brett Thompson and Heath Hall of Pork Barrel BBQ, who has a recipe featured in the cookbook and also was a guest on the show, plans to open a southern style pulled pork BBQ restaurant in the fall, slated for September in the Del Ray neighborhood of Alexandria, VA. Brett originally from Missouri and has lived and worked in Washington, DC for eight years. Brett said that he and Heath, “still have their day jobs working for the U.S. Senate.” Sounds like a swell life right? Senate staffers by day, BBQ devotees by night. According to their website, they got the idea for the restaurant in 2006, tired from working late and listening to Senators argue the merits of Pork Barrel spending in the midst of a Congressional Appropriations debate. Once Senator Jim Talent from Missouri was out of office, Brett and Heath discussed opening their own restaurant. In December 2008, Pork Barrel BBQ was founded. Brett and Hall ran the company out of the basement of their houses, selling the BBQ products one bottle at a time and are fulfilling their dream. They have won multiple contests such as the Memphis in May World Championship for their Barbecue Dry Rub and sauces and participated in ABC’s Shark Tank. Their products are now available in over 130 stores nationwide.

The BBQ plans to be at the Food & Wine Festival at the National Harbor, June 12-13, to showcase their BBQ and to get the word out about their new restaurant opening in just a few short months. Brett and I discussed the festival and I was excited to tell them that I will be at the festival to judge the So You Think You Can Grill contest for the Beef Checkoff Initiative.

Ana Victoria, Chef at the Embassy of Panama in Washington, DC is just 21 years old. After graduating from the esteemed Culinary Institute of American in Hyde Park, NY she came to DC for a one year work Visa to work at Palena. She met the Capital Cooking host, DeSantis recently at the Embassy Challenge competition where DeSantis asked Ana to be a guest on her show.  

According to DeSantis’ husband, Corey Then, the Capital Cooking show has been picked up by a new network and will hopefully have continued success. If you haven’t picked up a copy yet, the Capital Cooking Cookbook is available online for $29.99. Congratulations to Lauren, may she have continued success!

DC Food Blog Happy Hour at Zentan, June 2.

Our monthly DC Food Blogger Happy is rapidly approaching. For June, we’re going to be meeting up at the Donovan House hotel’s ZENTAN — the very hip and happening Asian-inspired restaurant, known for it’s superb sushi located at 1155 14th street NW. Come meet and mingle with your fellow food bloggers on Wednesday, June 2, at 6:00 pm.

Zentan Sushi and Sashimi. Photo by L. Shapiro

ZENTAN provides appetizer-size small plates from 5 to 7 p.m. Snack on $7 dishes such as seaweed salad, shrimp tempura with brown butter miso and beef tartare in Chinese wonton chips topped with a poached quail egg. Also, enjoy $7 happy hour drink specials such as the Spicy Thai — chili-infused vodka, St. Germain elder flower liqueur, sake and cranberry juice — and Mango Rose, a mixture of vodka, mango puree, fresh-squeezed lime juice and rose water.

Come meet, mingle, and chat with fellow food bloggers. Whether you’re a regular DCFBHH attendee in need of a reminder or you’re interested in putting a face to a name for some of your favorite local food bloggers, come have a snack with us. It’s the first Wednesday of every month so put it on your calendar now.

Also, now the DC food bloggers have a new Facebook fan page, a virtual space to hang out, converse, and get to know each other.  If you are a food blogger (or a food lover) feel free to “become a fan.” We’ll be posting future events via Facebook, so it’s a great way to keep up on what’s going on. If you plan on attending, please RSVP to the DC Food Blogger Facebook page.

A lot of people make these happy hours happen.  As always, thanks to the planning committee:

Arugula Files
Beer Spotter
Biscuits and Such
Capital Cooking
Capital Spice
Common Man Eats
Dining in DC
Gradually Greener
Johnna Knows Good Food

Modern Domestic
Thrifty DC Cook
We Love DC

Hope to see you there! If you plan to attend, if you plan on attending, please RSVP to the DC Food Blogger Facebook page.Thanks! See you there! And feel free to repost this flyer on your blog to spread the word.

Zentan is jazzing it up this spring with Blue Mondays and Lucky 7’s happy hour.

Photo by Lisa Shapiro

Internationally famed Chef Susur Lee introduced DC diners to his inventive global Asian cuisine with ZENTAN, located in the Donovan House – a Thompson Hotel (1155 14th Street, NW) almost a year ago, in June 2009.  Within one year, Washingtonians have become dazzled by Chef Lee’s Asian fusion menu featuring favorites from Shang in NYC and his restaurant, Lee in Toronto and have recognized ZENTAN as part of the community — which was part of the plan, according to Brett Blass, Regional Vice President of Operations and General Manager. Since its opening last spring, ZENTAN has participated in DC’s Restaurant Week sponsored by Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington and Destination DC, Share Our Strength’s Taste of the Nation, a benefit for child hunger, and has celebrated various holidays by offering special menus such as the Chinese New Year and the Cherry Blossom Festival. Not only is ZENTAN a great place to celebrate a special occasion or support a local charity, but it is also a popular spot for nine-to-fivers to frequent for an after work cocktail or an early evening social.

Known for its sensational sushi, global Asian cuisine, and chic trendy décor, ZENTAN is jazzing it up this spring with a new “Lucky 7’s” Happy Hour and “Blue Mondays,” which includes live jazz music. The new happy hour menu will feature $7 wines by the glass and $7 small plates which will be offered from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday. The small plates perfect for sharing include some of Zentan’s classic dishes: Seaweed Salad; Sweet Chili Wings; Steamed Pork Dumplings with preserved vegetable chili sauce; Shrimp Stuffed Chinese Donut with sweet and sour sauce; Tempura Shrimp with brown butter miso, edamame, lemon; Fluke Sashimi with jalapeño, grapefruit and cilantro and Steak Tartar with poached quail egg, wonton crisps. Zentan’s sleek bar, with ample seating and communal tables, offers wines by the glass at $7 with choices such as Fattoria Bibbiani, Chianti, Italy ’08; Four Vines, “Naked” Chardonnay, Santa Barbara, California ‘08 and M. Lawrence, ‘SEX’, Brut, Rose, Suttons Bay, Michigan NV, Lakefront IPA, Wisconsin or Voices in the Mist, Junmai Nigori sake is also available.

In addition, ZENTAN is offering the perfect way to jazz up the week with “Blue Mondays.” Live jazz will be performed every Monday evening from 6 p.m. until 10 p.m. Led by bassist Tommy Cecil, the featured jazz trios will include some of Washington’s most talented musicians, playing standards and jazz classics.  To complement the tunes, Zentan is offering Blue Moon Beer for $5 each. Specialty cocktails also sooth away the day such as the Progression Punch made with vodka, rum, Blue Curacao, sour mix, orange juice and topped with sprite and the Blue Note with rum, orange juice, pineapple, Blue Curacao, sour apple pucker. Enjoy the “Lucky 7’s” array of small plates offered for just $7, perfect for sharing at the bar. A selection of the menu is also available at the exclusive rooftop pool bar, ADC (Above DC).

ZENTAN is always coming up with enticing new promotions and imaginative special tasting menus. Stay tuned for what they come up with for summer — it will be sizzling for sure.

Zentan (Donavan House)
1155 14th Street
Washington, DC 20005
202-379-4366

www.zentanrestaurant.com

Tonight: Susur Lee’s ZENTAN offers an exclusive dinner with Sushi Expert Trevor Corson.

Tonight, Wednesday, March 3, 2010 my sushi-enthusiast husband and I are very excited to attend a special dinner at ZENTAN. They will host an exploration of sushi with leading authority and author Trevor Corson, the only “Sushi Concierge” in the United States. Led by Trevor, the five-course sushi dinner, will feature an array of ZENTAN’s signature dishes, sensational sushi and premiere sake pairings. Although this event is Sold Out – I have been told that the restaurant plans to hold another dinner in the upcoming months.
 
The tempting pre-fixe sushi dinner features five-courses specially crafted by ZENTAN’s sushi chef Jason Zheng and Chef de Cuisine JaimeMontes de Oca Jr. To begin the evening, guests will share bowls of edemame and Zentan’s famed celebrity chef Susur Lee’s signature Singapore Slaw. Last month I had the pleasure of meeting Susur. Not only did he graciously gift me a signed copy of his book but he inspired me to learn more about Chinese food and traditions.

Tonight the sushi selection is designed to showcase the authentic tradition of the cuisine and includes Kanpachi, Ocean Trout, Sweet Shrimp, Sea Scallop, Madai Snapper, Horse Mackerel, Octopus, Eel – Anago, Flounder – Konbujime Hirame and Oshizushi.
 
I am excited to listen to Trevor Corson discuss the history and secret etiquette of sushi.

A frequent guest on NPR and television shows such as Iron Chef America, where he has appeared as a judge, Trevor and his work have been featured on ABC News with Charles Gibson and CBS Sunday Morning. Trevor is the author of the bestselling book The Story of Sushi: An Unlikely Saga of Raw Fish and Rice, which tells the unknown tale of Japan’s most mysterious meal through the true story of a group of apprentice sushi chefs in Los Angeles; it was named a Best Food Book of the Year by Zagat and selected as an Editor’s Choice by the New York Times Book Review.
 
ZENTAN, located in Donovan House – a Thompson Hotel (1155 14th Street, N.W.). Metro: McPhearson Sq (Blue)
I am also looking forward to the exclusive rooftop pool bar, ADC (Above DC). For more information call 202.379.4366 or visit www.zentanrestaurant.com/.