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Dining with Doyle

Dining with Doyle: Zen Express – February 16, 2018

Dining with Doyle: Zen Express – February 16, 2018

Sushi is a dish that has long been a part of the Japanese culture and has made its popularity in the United State and all around the world.

This classic dish can be broken down into its most basic form, prepared with rice and combined with a variety of ingredients, such as seafood, vegetables, and occasionally tropical fruits.

The newly established Zen Express, a Japanese style restaurant located on North Main Street in Normal, uses these classic ingredients and creates their signature Sushi Bowl.

“When customers come in I explain how the sushi bowl works…for the hibachi grill we have fresh protein and vegetable when we make their food,” owner Vincent Chao said.

Never once hearing of sushi being broke down into the form of the ingredients inside a bowl I was quite intrigued. It had the sense of ordering at a Chipotle, pick your protein, veggies, and a wide variety of sauces and mix together inside the bowl.

I had Chao compile sushi bowl, consisting of three proteins including chicken, tuna, and shrimp, all of the mix-ins, which include cucumber, mango, jalapeno, cilantro, edamame, green onion and topped off with teriyaki and yum-yum sauce.

I’m a big sushi fan and was curious to see what all of these components would taste like just mixed together. It was different but enticing, a mix of flavors that came together to make a jammed pack concoction.

The sushi bowls are the staple of what Zen Express does, but they aren’t limited to just this item. With a classic hibachi grill and hot wok station, there are the typical Japanese dishes also on the menu.

The space is very clean and quite modern, what used to be once a Pizza Hut has transformed into a very comfortable place to dine and enjoy a quick meal.

“We provide fresh food and good quality of ingredient…the prices are quite reasonable and with quick service it makes us a spot to grab something fast and tasty,” Chao said.

This week Zen Express earns a score of 4.2 out of 5.

Tune in every Friday at the bottom of the hour on 103.3 WZND and WZND.com for a new edition of Dining with Doyle with WZND reporter Neil Doyle.

Neil Doyle

February 16th, 2018

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