Restaurant Review: Zen Palate | New York City (Union Square)

Zen Palate, Union Square

Last weekend my husband was conducting a design workshop in New York City, so the kids and I came along so we could spend some time outside of our normal suburban environs. It was an unusually chilly day (I had to buy gloves!), so when we met him in Union Square, after he was done teaching for the day, we wanted to find a place to eat ASAP to get out of the cold. He remembered that there was a Zen Palate nearby so we headed over in a hurry.

We hesitantly walked in;  the atmosphere was inviting and cozy and with tables oh so very close to one another (so close that we could not get away from over hearing a really awkward first date) spiking my mommy-anxiety, "This is totally not a place for kids!" However, my belly took precedent over my fears of a child uprising, and after looking at the menu, we decided to stay.

Super yummy crispy noodles with sauce--can't remember the name
Lots of the dishes at Zen Palate are more on the natural side, so picking a dish for my 3-year-old was a challenge. I was going to order him Singapore noodles, but our server told us that they couldn't really be made not spicy, so he recommended another noodle dish. My son ate lots of the veggies from it, but wasn't so into the noodles. Oh well, the mister and I loved it. the sauce and the crunchy noodles reminded me of New England style chow mein, so I was quite happy.

For my normally more adventurous daughter, we ordered her a veggie burger, which she didn't like and she didn't like the sweet potato fries. Crazy talk! Her brother ate all the sweet potato fries (which were nice and crispy) and we later had the mildly flavored, almost sweet, burger for dinner the next night. What did she eat? The veggies from her brother's plate and the spring rolls from our fixe prix dishes! Meal-swapping at its finest.

Curry Supreme
Mr. Scissors ordered the curry supreme fixe prix (with multigrain rice and crispy spring rolls). He thought it was OK. The wheat gluten that they use in this dish is a bit like Indian "nutrela" which neither one of us are fans on. The sauce was a little weak in flavor. It wasn't horrible, but it wasn't something he'd order again.

Sesame Medallions in BBQ Sauce
I ordered the sesame medallions in BBQ sauce. Again, it was OK, nothing to write home about, but decent. The sauce wasn't really a barbecuey, but more of a brown sauce. The crispy spring rolls were also acceptable.

Overall, I don't know if we'd go back. It's not the fault of the servers (they were very attentive and super nice) or the food, or the atmosphere, it's just didn't have the wow-factor for me. There are just so many choices in New York, and we are not there so often, that it wouldn't be the first on my list. BUT--if we were in the neighborhood, sure, I wouldn't mind going. Decent, just not, as I put it, crave-able.

Zen Palate
115 E 18th St. 
New York, NY 10003
(212) 387-8885


  1. Yeah! I don't know if I'm a fan of Zen Palate. I've heard the fries are awesome, though. I imagine it's only harder to find something to eat with kids.

  2. Those sesame medallions look amazing.


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