A few weeks ago, Rachel and I had the pleasure of trying out Zengo’s new bottomless brunch. Offered both Saturday and Sunday from 11:30am to 2:30pm, diners get to indulge in a variety of Latin-Asian fusion dishes from Chef-Owner Richard Sandoval and Chef de Cuisine Graham Bartlett. Oh, and of course it’s not a bottomless brunch without endless brunch cocktails.
And just like Sandoval’s sister restaurant, Masa 14, the price tag of endless small plates and libations comes out to a reasonable $35 per person.
With nearly two dozen plates to choose from as well as a handful of brunch cocktails, Zengo’s brunch is ideal for groups so that diners can sample the entire menu.
Considering it was just the two of us on Sunday, we tried our best to order the dishes that sounded the most appealing without having to roll us out of the restaurant. With that said, we started brunch with a pair of mimosas – traditional and passion fruit.
Our first dishes were a duo of ceviches. The Bay Scallop Ceviche was comprised of Thai chile, avocado, peanut, mint, and crispy shallots while the Ceviche Dorado, our favorite of the two, featured mahi mahi, aji panca, kimchee, cucumber, and cantaloupe.
And while sushi isn’t typically considered brunch fare, Zengo whips up an excellent spicy tuna roll, dubbed the Angry Zengo Roll. Made with wasabi, avocado, cucumber, and sesame chipotle rouille, it was an enjoyable plate of maki.
One of the day’s highlights (at least for me) was the short rib hash, made with poached eggs, yucca, poblano rajas, and caramelized onion.
Up next was a salmon benedict, made with poached egg, ciabatta, kimchee, chili, and hollandaise.
One of our favorite dishes was the bacon and scrambled egg steamed buns. Topped with Oaxaca and salsa verde, the buns were delightfully soft and subtly sweet.
Perhaps the richest item of the day wasn’t even a small plate, but a side dish. Regardless, the lobster grits are a must-order. And don’t let the title fool you – it was more of a lobster bisque given how thick and creamy it was. Still, it was a hit nonetheless.
Next was the Peking Duck Chilaquiles. One of the more interesting concoctions of the day, it was comprised of fried egg, pickled onion. guajillo salsa, cotijacrem, and corn tortillas. If you’re nursing a hangover, this is probably a dish you’d want to order.
The shrimp-vegetable pot stickers, accompanied with chile-dashi sauce, were a nice way to close out the main portion of the meal.
As for dessert, we thought the churros were excellent. Served with a side of Mexican hot chocolate and artfully presented, the rich, slightly spicy chocolate sauce complemented the crispy quartet of churros.
Given the $35 price tag, it’s a value-packed brunch when you consider the unlimited small plates and beverages. Dishes did come out in waves, so be prepared when your table receives a multitude of items at once as it can get slightly overwhelming.
Overall, we really enjoyed what Zengo had to offer. Not only was the service excellent, but it’s also incredibly convenient given that Zengo sits atop the Gallery Place Metro. If you’re looking for a good group outing for bunch, Zengo is a solid choice.