This North Avenue hangout offers a spacious dining area, cheerfully lit with primary-colored walls and vibrant photographs. It's a setting that suits the personality of the cooks and servers; these sociable, gracious folks bend over backward to ensure an amiable, accommodating atmosphere.
Even more generous than the staff is the range of eating options. Rather than sticking to a specific Asian cuisine, Zen Noodles prides itself on variety. Its broad spectrum of dishes represent a number of countries, treating those tired of Thai or Chinese to reasonably-priced selections from Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia, Cambodia, Singapore, Laos and the Phillipines.
Tried-and-true diners will be thrilled to find pad thai classic and kung pao chicken among the offerings, alongside less familiar entrees such as Cambodian chicken noodles and Malaysian nasi goreng (Malaysian fried rice with vegetables, crispy onions, egg, omelet stripes and chilis). Most entrees run a reasonable $6-$9.
There are also plenty of sides, salads and satays for those wishing to avoid the lead belly that tends to follow a plate of noodles. Appetizers such as egg rolls and fried tofu are tasty enough to risk spoiling your appetite, and bubble tea drinks and smoothies are ideal for post-meal palate cleansing.
Average cost: <$10
Centerstage Reviewer: Jenny Seay