When a new spot opens in town, we can't wait to check it out -- and let you know our initial impressions, share a few photos, and dish about some menu items. First Taste, as the name implies, is not a full-blown review, but instead a peek inside restaurants that have just opened, sampling a few items, and satisfying curiosities (yours and ours).
Restaurant: Zang Asian Bistro Location: 6835 N. 58th Dr., Glendale Open: Less than a month Eats: Asian Price: $15 or less/entree
It's been more than two years since Zang Asian Bistro closed its doors in downtown Glendale. But thanks to restaurateurs David Chang and Tom Harvey, it's back in action and under the same chef who made it a neighborhood staple back in 2005, Kim Ming Poon.
Located adjacent to Cuff, the New American restaurant where Harvey is chef and owner, Zang offers a casual and slightly updated dining room, as well as a separate counter for take out diners.
The restaurant's lunch menu isn't particularly lengthy but includes everything from appetizers to meat entrees, noodles, and fried rice. Dishes take inspiration from various Asian styles, for example Hong Kong Sweet and Sour Pork, Thai Seafood Curry, Sichuan Chicken.
From the small plates section we started with an order of Char Sui ($8). Served with four fried white buns, the generous portion of barbecue pork also came covered in a sweet and lightly sour sauce. We weren't expected the dish to include sauce, but the combination of the slightly sweet buns and sour sauce made for a nice enough pairing. Thick slices of tomato were an odd choice to serve with the dish, and therefore went entirely untouched.
We followed up the starter with one of four dishes labeled Chef Poon's Specials. The Tokyo Seasame Chicken featured a sticky, sweet honey sauce that was only just barely counterbalanced by a sprinkling of sesame seeds. At least the batter was light and crunchy despite the heavy sauce.
An order of Fried Lemon Pepper Tofu with Red Bell Peppers was by far the best dish of the meal. A thin but crisp layer of bright lemony crust covered cubes creamy, soft tofu. With a nice balance of sweet red peppers and salty tofu, this dish would satisfy vegetarians and their meat eating friends.
Unfortunately the same can't be said for the Chinese Sweet Sausage Pork Fried Rice. With chunks of sausage, corn, green onion, and egg the dish was generous in size but lacking in flavor.
Though Zang probably won't replace your favorite spot for authentic Chinese eats, this cozy Glendale spot delivers approachable food in generous proportions. Between this new restaurant and Cuff, which has already garnered some local buzz, it seems downtown Glendale may be at the beginning of a restaurant Renaissance.