3 Fleur
Average check per person $15-$25
BreakfastNo Breakfast SundayNo Breakfast MondayNo Breakfast TuesdayNo Breakfast WednesdayNo Breakfast ThursdayNo Breakfast FridayNo Breakfast Saturday
LunchNo Lunch SundayLunch MondayLunch TuesdayLunch WednesdayLunch ThursdayLunch FridayLunch Saturday
DinnerDinner SundayDinner MondayDinner TuesdayDinner WednesdayDinner ThursdayDinner FridayDinner Saturday

Cafe Zen

Gretna: 2112 Belle Chasse Hwy. 504-393-2293. Map.
Casual.
AE DC DS MC V
Website

WHY IT’S NOTEWORTHY
The West Bank is loaded with Asian restaurants, but only recently has a significant number of Japanese restaurants opened there. Scarcity, however, can’t explain the following Cafe Zen attracts. It’s often full, particularly at lunch. All that happens because its sushi bar is much better than you’d expect from an anonymous strip-mall space on Belle Chasse Highway. It could hold its own in any other part of town.

WHAT’S GOOD
A sushi bar that stays busy stays sharp, and this place does. The freshness, selection, and conformation of everything from the basic nigiri sushi through the more adventuresome rolls show high standards of ingredients and techniques. The many regulars keep the sushi chefs on target. The cooked dishes are decent, but the sushi bar is where the action is.

BACKSTORY
Owner Hiro Tomiyama came out of another local sushi place to open Cafe Zen in 2001. It began as a very small, tight place, but in 2008 it moved to larger quarters in the same strip mall, right next to its original spot.

DINING ROOM
The sushi bar absolutely dominates the space, with more than the typical number of seats fronting it. A wall of windows in front keeps the place bright. The clientele is decidedly on the young side.

ONLINE MENU LOCATION

ESSENTIAL DISHES
Starters
Edamame
»Tempura ( crab or shrimp)
Yakitori (chicken skewer teriyaki)
»Beef tataki
Baked green mussel
»Gyoza
»Grilled yellow tail neck
Wasabi shumai
Japanese mushroom saute
»Hasami-age (chicken, shiso leaves, cheese, tempura style)
Zen tofu
Baked seafood
Spring roll
Sauteed sea scallop
»Steamed monkfish pate
White fish carpaccio
»Sushi appetizer
»Sashimi appetizer
»Tuna tataki
Entrees
»Tiger eyes (salmon, snow crab, wrapped with cuttlefish)
Caterpillar roll
Sashimi roll
Baked salmon roll
»Inari combo (fried seafood-stuffed tofu sheets
Lobster roll
Red dragon roll
Tiger roll
»Kimchee tuna
»BBQ squid
Zen tempura roll
Fried fish cake
Fried salmon roll
Smoked salmon and mango roll
Tornado roll
Chicken teriyaki
»Ribeye steak, shiitake mushrooms
Shrimp tempura
»Grilled tuna, onions, teriyaki
Grilled salmon, onions, teriyaki
Tofu steak
Zen combination (tempura, grilled chicken, beef, dumplings and baked green mussel)
Sushi bar
»Nigiri sushi
»Sashimi
»Chirashi sushi
»Unagi don (BBQ eel)
»Tekka don (sliced tuna, sushi rice)
»Sushi and sashimi combination
Sushi rolls (many varieties)
Desserts
Ice cream
Fried ice cream
»Fried banana with vanilla ice cream
»Coconut sorbet
»Mochi ice cream

FOR BEST RESULTS
The key to any sushi bar is making friends with the chefs by becoming a regular customer. Here you can get away with just acting like you’re a regular customer.

OPPORTUNITIES FOR IMPROVEMENT
The waiters often don’t want to spend much time explaining the rolls, but who could blame them?

FACTORS OTHER THAN FOOD
Up to three points, positive or negative, for these characteristics. Absence of points denotes average performance in the matter.

  • Dining Environment
  • Consistency +2
  • Service
  • Value +1
  • Attitude +1
  • Wine & Bar
  • Hipness +2
  • Local Color

 

SPECIAL ATTRIBUTES

  • Good for business meetings
  • Open Sunday lunch and dinner
  • Open Monday lunch and dinner
  • Open some holidays
  • Open all afternoon
  • Quick, good meal
  • Easy, nearby parking

1 Readers Commented

Join discussion
  1. Gordon on February 20, 2015

    The Best On The West By Far .

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