Zengo’s Latest Test Kitchen: Indonesia to Argentina

Richard Sandoval’s Zengo is back with its latest Test Kitchen series, this time showcasing flavors from Indonesia and Argentina. There’s a lineup of new dishes and drinks, all of which will remain available through June 30th. You can find the Test Kitchen: Indonesia to Argentina items marked with a “TK” symbol on the menu.

In the past, Zengo’s Test Kitchen fare would typically combine the flavors of the two highlighted countries into each dish. This time around, Chef de Cuisine Jason Streiff has gone in a different direction, offering distinctive dishes from each country separately, and only truly joining them together in one concept.

That joint effort is found in the Stuffed Crispy Tofu. The dish features what are essentially fried dumplings made from tofu, stuffed with chorizo, shrimp, carrots, and bean sprouts. It’s a fun and inventive combination, and is served with an addictive sweet and spicy soy dipping sauce.

Indonesia is also represented with a play on a traditional chile crab dish, typically served with chopped, whole crab chunks, but here offered instead as Indonesian-Style Chile Crab Cakes, with mini lump blue crab cakes served with a salad, and a sweet tamarind and chile crab sauce.

From Argentina, first find the Beef Tongue Escabeche. Tender slivers of thinly sliced beef tongue served with pickled bell pepper, garlic, olive oil, cilantro and boiled egg. The dish offered a bright punch of flavor, which was pleasantly surprising considering it was actually a bit drab in appearance, a rarity for the typically brightly adorned and vibrantly plated Zengo dishes.

If you really brought your appetite, then you’ll be well served with the Argentinian Parillada Mixed Grill for two. A wooden tray with a massive assortment of grilled meats showcases hanger steak, chorizo, chopped grilled chicken breast, and blood sausage, served atop sliced grilled potatoes, and paired with a black truffle chimichurri dipping sauce and a grilled garlic head.

There are also two new cocktails from Richard Sandoval Restaurant’s National Beverage Director, Rob Day. The first is the Tucuman, a play on a Manhattan featuring apricot brandy, gin, sweet vermouth and blood orange bitters. Next is the Smoked Ginger, or Jengibre Ahumado, which includes rye whiskey, ginger and honey syrup, apricot brandy, lemon juice and ginger beer. Of the two, the latter is the better bet and also does a better job melding with the flavors you’re eating.

Find a new sweet finish for dessert with the Lychee Mousse, featuring a mango-puree stuffed mousse atop a vanilla cake, served with raspberry sauce. The last bite of the evening may have been the strongest with this light, refreshing close to the meal.

Author: Jake Emen

I’m Jake, and I’m your host on this journey. I'm the man doing the eating and the talking around here. I’m a writer based outside of Washington, D.C., and I'm also talking whiskey, local events, travel, and other assorted misadventures. Follow me on the Tweet Machine - @ManTalkFood, or send an email to jake [at] mantalkfood.com.

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