Hanoi Meets Havana

[ 0 ] April 23, 2012 |

Congrejo Enchilado

In the past six months I have had the opportunity to be apart of Zengo’s Test Kitchen series.  The Test Kitchen fuses cuisines from various countries, mostly Latin American and Asian countries, to create a unique twist on familiar flavors.  This month the restaurant took on the regions of Hanoi and Havana giving patrons a flavor trip through Vietnam and Cuba.  Pairing the menu full of small plates with the Aguardiente spirit from Cuba was savvy while keeping some of the regional spirits in the cocktail mix.  People often ask me what is the best part about being a food blogger and I would have to say the following epitomizes why I love every minute.

Six small plates for guests to try beginning with a soft shell crab and shrimp stuffed inside a lettuce wrap and topped with Kaffir lime aioli in the Cangrejo Enchilado (*My fave).  The lettuce wraps were followed up by the Morcillas, which ironically reminded me of the American pork and beans, that was made up of pork blood sausages made in white bean caldo galleo and anise pate.  Zengo is known for their cocktails which is why their happy hour can lead to standing room only on any given occasion.

Lemongrass0Lychee Mojito (Image via Noah Fecks)

This night would be no exception with their serving of the Lemongrass-Lychee Mojito infused with silver rum, lychee, mint and a Kaffir lime drizzle.  Since I’m not into the typical “girlie” drinks, I appreciated the fact that Zengo’s mojito gave a little more attention to the rum than tons of sugar cubes.

Marking the Richard Sandoval collective restaurants 15 year run, the special Hanoi-Havana menu is available until the end of June.  Personally, the menu is not only a celebration of the Sandoval empire, but it marks the beginning of another summer and what is more refreshing for the summer than a Cuban style daiquiri and crispy soft shell crabs??

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Category: Announcements, Food.Fun.Stuff., Washington D.C.

About the Author ()

Johnna French is a Harlem NY native with deep roots in Panama, Washington, DC and North Carolina. All four places have heavily influenced her life and the foods she loves today. After graduating Howard University School of Law and beginning her life as a young professional in the city she was led to start Johnna Knows Good Food in November 2007 to keep family, friends and colleagues updated on where to go and what to eat while dining in the nation’s capitol. French, who still practices law, leads a team of three writers to cover the ever expanding Washington, DC food scene. French has been featured in print and television, appearing in Washingtonian Magazine and is a regular contributor to various local TV affiliates including WUSA 9, FOX 5 DC and WJLA (ABC Affiliate) News Channel 8. During the 2016-2017 football season, Johnna aired on Comcast Sports Mid-Atlantic (CSN) show, Redskins Life, as the weekly tailgate host. Johnna is currently a regular contributor to the FOX Baltimore Weekend morning show.

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