After a long day of driving, the atmosphere at Zen Vegetarian Restaurant in Wichita, Kansas was a welcome respite. The quiet, soothing calm of the unassuming restaurant invited us to sit down and relax from the pressure of the road.
They don’t serve alcohol, but they do have a variety of juices. To start, I ordered a refreshing glass of cucumber lemonade. The tart and sweet lemonade was like summer in a glass with hints of fresh cucumber.
With drink in hand, I set about ordering. Their all-vegetarian menu is extremely varied and includes sushi, noodle and rice dishes, sandwiches, and dim sum. There are many items on the menu that are already vegan, and I was told by the owner that everything can be prepared vegan upon request.
My husband and I started our meal with an appetizer of steam cedar shoot buns. The cedar shoot buns met the expectations of my dim sum desires. The squishy dough had a soft give without being rubbery. They were filled with soy protein and cedar spices.
For my entree, I ordered the asparagus surprise. This dish takes an unusual take on your traditional stir-fry by using smoked tofu and slicing it into sticks. It gives a pleasing bite and mouth feel with the sautéed asparagus and carrots. This mild dish had a nice balance of flavors without being overbearing.
My husband ordered the Portobello mushroom sandwich, which was served with a variety of crispy tempura-fried vegetables. The tender Portobello mushroom is sandwiched between two pieces of wheat bread with baby greens, tomatoes, and alfalfa sprouts.