Following , a recommendation by Steve, I headed over to Zen Box Japanese Eatery located in the 6 Quebec Building. I checked out their menu ahead of time and noticed that out of their 20 options (not including sushi or side orders), 10 were fried. Knowing I wouldn’t be eating anything fried I headed over anyway.
I walked up and inside and most of the tables were filled. I walked up to the counter and looked over what they had in plain sight and chose their “Spring/Summer Special” which was some sort of buckwheat salad. According to the picture sign on the glass, which I promptly took a photo of so that I could recall the ingredients for my writeup, this special seemed like it included lettuce, buckwheat pasta, lima beans, carrots, and some sort of sauce. I was looking for something light, thus the desire for sushi in the first place, and this seemed light and crisp. Perfect. The guy reached in the back and grabbed a prepackaged container that was fairly nicely arranged and handed it to me. After snapping the shot of this display, I was oh so rudely informed that I was not to take any photos of their menu. I ignored the guy and just gave him a non-committal response and put the phone back in my pocket (Kim took my camera with her to Ohio this weekend) and moved along to the register with the guy behind the counter staring me down from the corner. Next time ask nicely, I am more than happy to abide by the wishes of an establishment while on their property. To those that operate Zen Box, I suggest retraining your employees on appropriate customer service skills, especially when enforcing your ridiculous ordinance which has worked out so well with other local establishments. I paid for my salad which without a drink came to $4.96. I grabbed some chopsticks and a to go container of hot sauce and exited the restaurant for fear of being told again that I was not permitted to take photos.
When I got back to my office I snapped some shots of the dish and then plated it. It looked quite nice both in the box and on the plate and I was looking forward to eating it. After looking at the blurry forbidden photo I found that the Spring/Summer salad was to include
Romaine lettuce, sesame seeds, a sesame dressing, and some other stuff that I couldn’t read because my photo was blurry as can be (corrected following an e-mail from the owners of Zen Box) Buckwheat Soba Noodles served with Edamame (soybeans), julienne carrots, shredded romaine lettuce, sprinkled with toasted sesame seeds and served with our homemade miso-sesame dressing. The lettuce looked and had the consistency of paper confetti. It literally had no flavor whatsoever. Perhaps I’m too used to eating organic lettuce from my CSA boxes but this shit was terrible. The buckwheat pasta was good and I liked the sesame sauce but found no additional seeds on top (perhaps they don’t want you taking photos of their menus for fear that they might have forgotten something and it makes them look as ridiculous as they really are). I really wished they had more pasta and more flavor to the dish. I’m glad I brought along the hot sauce to at least give it a bit more taste (especially after the pasta ran out) or else this would have been akin to eating wet paper.
I’m sure that their other offerings are better, especially if you’re into fried foods, but unfortunately I will not be back to try their sushi. I know of at least two other places nearby that serve meals packaged nearly the same way and for similar prices and I will have to find out if they are any better or have the same retarded rules about photo taking.
While I won’t be back I would like to hear more about their sushi. If you’ve eaten it, please post below. Maybe someone else that doesn’t take photos of every single little thing they eat (heh) will want to enter this establishment and try it out.
Zen Box Japanese Eatery
6 Quebec at Skyway Level
601 Marquette Ave, Suite 204
Minneapolis, MN 55402
10:30AM – 2:30PM
See all the pictures from Zen Box Japanese Eatery on Flickr here (mobile).