100 Favorite Dishes, No. 20: The Smoked Salmon at Zen Sushi

This isn't the smoked salmon sushi you've been used to.
This isn't the smoked salmon sushi you've been used to.
Scott Reitz

To prepare for this fall's Best of Dallas® 2014 issue, we're counting down (in no particular order) our 100 Favorite Dishes. If there's a dish you think we need to try, leave it in the comments, or email me.

The smoked salmon you see pictured above demonstrates exactly why you should sit at the bar when you dine at a sushi restaurant: the position lets you pick at the chef for tailored recommendations. The first hurdle you might have to overcome is convincing the chef you're not a novice who prefers California rolls and spicy, mayonnaise-soaked tuna. You can try by ordering some mackerel, uni and squid for starters, and then ask for whatever looks best. From then on out, you'll be set.

That's how I stumbled on the smoked salmon at Zen Sushi. If I'm honest, it's not a cut I typically order, if ever, but chef Michelle Carpenter assured me it was excellent. She said they sell a lot of it for carry out around Christmas, which for whatever reason was more than enough endorsement.

Each slice of salmon is rich and buttery, with a prominent smokiness and a texture I've never experienced in smoked salmon. It still felt raw on the palate, but the fish had a firmness and jiggly texture, too.

I've been trying smoked salmon at other sushi restaurants around Dallas ever since, and I haven't found another cut that comes close. Zen Sushi, the little sushi restaurant in Bishop Arts, has smoked salmon that even out paces Yutaka. It's more than worth a stop.

No. 100: Pastrami Egg Rolls at Blind Butcher No. 99: Chicken-fried Steak at Tom's Burgers and Grill No. 98: Pasta with Uni Butter at Nonna No. 97: Camarón en Agua Chile at La Palapas No. 96: The Wings at Lakewood Landing No. 94: Chicken Kebab at Afrah No. 93: Trompo Tacos at Bachman Lake No. 92: Fish and Chips at 20 Feet No. 91: Canelés at Village Baking Co. No. 90: Banh Mi from La Me No. 88: The Burgers at Off-Site Kitchen No. 87: The White Album at Spoon No. 86: Ramen at Tei An No. 85: Tacos at Revolver Taco No. 84: Stuffed Chicken Wings at Sakhuu No. 83: Korean Fried Chicken at Bonchon No. 82: Grilled Branzino at Tei Tei Robata No. 81: The Toddfather at Cattleack Barbecue No. 80: The Biryanis at Chennai No. 79: Shish Tawook at Qariah No. 78: Arepes at Zaguan No. 77: Goat Momo at Everest Restaurant No. 76: Steak Tartar at Gemma No. 75: Escabeche at Joyce and Gigi's No. 74: Spicy Fish in Oil at Royal Sichuan No. 73: Pupusas at La Pasadita No. 72: The Kathi Roll at Simply Dosa No. 71: The Chicken Wings at Teppo No. 70: Cheesesteak at Truck Yard No. 69: Chicken and Waffles at Jonathon's No. 68: Birria Tacos at Los Torres Taqueria No. 67: Bulgogi Cheesesteak at Say Kimchi No. 66: Suadero Tacos at La Banqueta No. 65: Brian Luscher's Post Oak Red Hot No. 64: Banana Flower Salad at Mot Hai Ba No. 63: Cinco Leches Cake At Mesero Miguel No. 62: Cabrito a la Parilla at El Ranchito No. 61: Reuben at Kuby's No. 60: Plain Cheese Pizza Cooked Extra Crispy at Zoli's No. 59: Enmoladas at Mesa No. 58: Pig's Head at CBD Provisions No. 57: Rib "Sandwich" at Baby Back Shak No. 56: Beef Noodle Soup at Monkey King No. 55: The Nachos at Spiral Diner No. 54: Elotes, Everywhere No. 53: The Popeye At Green Grocer No. 52: The Cuban at International Bakery No. 51: Rush Patisserie's Croissant No. 50: Kitfo From Sheba's Ethiopian Kitchen No. 49: Beer at Craft and Growler No. 48: Pastor Tacos at El Rincon No. 47: Banh Mi From Nammi No. 46: Beef Fajitas From Mariano's No. 45: Italian Combo from Carbone's No. 44: The Brisket at Pecan Lodge No. 43: Chicken-Fried Steak at Ellen's Southern Kitchen No. 42: Carnitas Tacos at Taqueria Y Carneseria Guanajuato No. 41: Lamb Burger at LARK No. 40: Regina Margherita At Cane Rosso No. 39: Barbacoa At Barbacoa Estilo Hidalgo No. 38: The Peace 'Stachio at Hypnotic Donuts No. 37: Nasi Lemak at Kampong No. 36: A Rotisserie Chicken Taco at Velvet Taco No. 35: The Burger At Boulevardier No. 34: Surfers On Acid At Local Oak No. 33: Bread Pudding at Sissy's No. 32: Pelmeni at the Russian Banya No. 31: Loukoumathes at Greek Fest No. 30: The Charcuterie Plate at FT33 No. 29: Short Rib Grilled Cheese at East Hampton No. 28: The Fried Bologna Sandwich at Maple and Motor No. 27: The Pastrami Sandwich at the Whistling Pig No. 26: Bacon-Encrusted Bone Marrow at Knife No. 25: Meatloaf at Stock and Barrel No. 24: The Reuben at Cock and Bull No. 23: Causa Limena at San Salvaje No. 22: Fish Tacos at TJ's No. 21: The Cuban at ¡C. Señor!

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Zen Sushi

380 W. Seventh St.
Dallas, TX 75208



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