🍠🍠🍠 Sunday evening again. My Carnivorous Cohort and I tend to like to dine nearby on Sundays as opposed to venturing out. Last Sunday was no different, particularly due to my family visit (see Via 313 posting). So we went to one of our tried and true favorites, Jenna’s Asian Kitchen.
Before meeting me I believe Larry had no idea that Asian cuisine could be tasty. Asian is always a good idea for the vegan-types and Jenna’s is a great idea. They serve Asian fusion but frankly all we ever go for is the Korean. Although we always start with some edamame! Is that Korean? Wikipedia says yes so it must be true…
Before I go into my go-to dish, I must inform my vegans that while Jenna’s menu may not appear vegan-friendly, they will substitute any meat in a dish with tofu! I happen to adore tofu so this is a big plus in my book. Okay so knowing that, my favorite dish is the “Spicy Pork Bulgogi” which I call Spicy Tofu Bulgogi. It is delicious. They serve it with a choice of rice – white, brown or fried (I always choose brown) – and another side that I believe is traditional for Korean food but we always decline as neither of us eats it. Why waste food?
The tofu is pan fried I believe in small triangular pieces. It is accompanied by onions, carrots and spices and probably other items I can’t identify. They have assured me it’s all clear on the vegan front though. The sauce is red, complex with flavor and the name is not inaccurate – quite spicy! The rice is lovely to tamper the spice just enough. I usually can’t finish but I always try!
I give Jenna’s a solid three rutabagas. Honestly I would give it more if it were not for the service. We come often and have made friends with several servers over time; however all have left. The remaining bunch are often understaffed. This visit we waited quite a while before even approached for a drink. Manager Bree saved the day as she recognized us and came over to apologize and get us started. They even gave us a discount on my wine! If they could sort this out, I would be willing to increase my rating and visit more often! That said, you should still try Jenna’s – it’s worth the wait.
Another Sunday night where the Vegan and I were interested in a good meal but not wanting to travel too far from home. I guess the lounging around all Sunday afternoon had worn us out. Laundry and watching golf on TV is tiring work! We opted for Jenna’s Asian Kitchen off 620 N. We have both frequented Jenna’s on numerous occasions, as they are quick to offer vegan friendly offerings and the food is always quite tasty.
The Vegan and I ordered the same thing – Bulgogi. Of course, mine was prepared with tasty cow meat, and hers was made with a cow like soy substance (tofu). We have never had a bad meal at Jenna’s. And this time didn’t disappoint either. The Bulgogi is flavorful and tender, and is served in a boiling clay pot that adds a degree of Korean authenticity that a mere plate won’t convey.
If you like Sake or wine, Jenna’s has a pretty good offering. I’m not a sake drinker and wasn’t in the mood for wine, so I went with a flight of 4 Japanese beers.
Each of the selected beers was tasty but the final one in the flight was exceptional. It was an Espresso Stout. I highly recommend giving it a try to finish off your dining experience.
While the food and waitstaff at Jenna’s is always dependable, the service would be the low mark of this review. The staff is highly skilled, helpful and very friendly; they simply need more of them. I understand that there is a fine line between excellent service and over staffing. Managing OpEx in the form of man hours is tough for a restaurant. Jenna’s would be well served by adding either another person to their evening wait staff, or implementing an “expediter/runner” position to minimize wait times, etc.
Jenna’s gets 3 cow faces but could easily jump to four if the service issues were resolved. Give it a shot and don’t forget the Espresso Stout!