Denver’s Zengo: Inspired Asian Cuisine with a Latin Flare

Chef Richard Sandoval's new menu combines his love of Asian and Latin American cuisines
black cod

Ron Stern

The chipotle black cod with miso glaze is a local favorite at Zengo.

Chef personality Richard Sandoval never seems to stop innovating with 40 restaurant concepts throughout the U.S. and abroad. Drawing inspiration from a recent culinary tour through Hong Kong, Tokyo, and Thailand, Sandoval re-created the menu for Zengo restaurant, which focuses on Asian cuisine.

Set against Denver’s skyline in a master-planned residential community, Zengo is situated in Riverfront Park in a revitalized area of downtown. The atmosphere is warm and inviting with a palette of colorful accents and contemporary furnishings, particularly in their La Biblioteca — The Library of Tequilas Lounge. This is the perfect place to relax and enjoy a pre-meal cocktail where you’ll choose from some 350 rare tequilas, spirits, and sake by the glass.

The new menu was developed in collaboration with executive chef Robert Juan, who wanted to bring the flavors of Asia to Zengo, while retaining some of Sandoval’s stand-out favorite Latin-influenced fare.

For dinner, choose from its sushi and crudo bar, appetizers, dim sum, soup and salad (the Asian pear salad with whipped goat cheese is fantastic,) offerings, main entrées, and wok creations. Start with the Thai chicken empanadas with chile poblano and Oaxaca cheese and mango-curry salsa ($12).

Sandoval redefines the traditional taco experience with his duck confit-daikon tacos with curried apple and orange coriander sauce ($13). And yes, you tuck all of this into a small daikon radish taco, but the flavor combinations really work nicely on the palate.

For the main course, go with their chipotle miso glazed black cod. Black cod, also known under the names of butterfish and sablefish, is a tasty and succulent, white-flesh fish. Prepared here with their miso glaze has made it the hands-down favorite of Denver locals. It is accompanied by daikon radishes, asparagus, and lemon tōgarashi aioli ($33).

Save room for its modern Mexican bar — sort of like a chocolate candy bar, but way better. This one is made with spiced chocolate Bavarian mousse, peanut nougat, chocolate feuilletine crust, and salted caramel ice cream ($9). You will not want to pass this up.

Reservations are recommended. Dinner is served Sunday-Thursday 5:00 p.m.-10 p.m. and Friday-Saturday from 5:00 p.m.-11:00 p.m. Happy Hour, located at the bar, lounge, and patio, goes on daily from 5:00 p.m.-7:00 p.m. Bottomless brunch goes Saturday-Sunday from 10:00 a.m.-2:30 p.m. and includes unlimited small plates and free flowing brunch cocktails, including a build your own bloody Mary bar.

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