Sometimes a country's most popular dish completely overshadows the rest of its great cuisine, like an infatuation with Iceland's hamborgarhryggur being the only reason you can't name even one more Icelandic dish (c'mon dude, hangikjöt!). For a Japanese joint proving there's more to Japan than sushi: Zen Box Izakaya.
From the husband-and-wife owners of skyway luncher Zen Box, Izakaya's boldly dishing Japanese comfort food sans raw fish, in a place that's got an easy, neighborhood-pub feel that tries to evoke the "emotions of when you're in Japan with your family", which, considering you're from St. Cloud, are likely total confusion and alienation. Their menu rocks everything from chicken teriyaki and soba salad (them good ole thin buckwheat noodles), to curry noodle dishes, to deep-fried chicken "kara-age" doused in their "kamikaze" sauce, about which there is Zero to make fun of. For booze, they'll be pouring a full array of liquor, sake, and shochu cocktails, in addition to local crafts like Fulton, and a full lineup of Japanese brews, also what Milwaukee's got the start of with Takashi Saito.
Because Japan's not the land of the rising track lighting, Zen'll also be serving grub curbside on their bustling, Washington Ave-facing sidewalk patio, where hopefully umbrellas'll be up, and the only thing being pleasantly overshadowed will be you.
Published: September 6, 2011 at 4:00am EDT
602 Washington Ave S
, MN 55415
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