Hot and spicy shrimp. photography by Kevin Hunter Marple

Review: Zenna

The words “half-priced sushi” have a magnetic draw you cannot underestimate. While not as mobbed as the Red Lobster across the freeway, Zenna has nonetheless attracted a discount-hungry happy-hour crowd since it opened in the old Bangkok City site in late 2007. Zenna’s other customer lure is that it stays open until 3 am, unheard of this far north. At midnight it becomes a singles’ scene, aided and abetted by the attractive young staff, cheap sake, and flashy cocktails, as well as a spiffy renovation that includes backlighting and rows of iridescent beads on the walls. Throw in bargain bento boxes at lunch and you have a bustling joint. The food is pretty good: competently trimmed sushi, complex curries, Thai noodles, even teriyaki chicken for the scaredy-cats. Chef Joe Keovixay, who left Nandina on Lower Greenville along with owners Dave and Ronnie Derekvatana to open Zenna, likes to reward regulars with signature sushi such as the DJ Vo Roll with shrimp tempura, crawfish, asparagus, avocado, and cucumber; or the Los Hip-Hop Guy Roll with crabmeat, seaweed salad, avocado, cucumber, yellowtail, and salmon. But Thai dishes such as pad kee mow, flat rice noodles stir-fried with veggies and egg shreds and sparked with basil leaf, were better. Even at non-happy-hour prices, everything runs from $8 to $13.

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