CityZen Restaurant Review

CityZen is truly a culinary experience. I use the word experience because CityZen, located in DC's Mandarin Oriental Hotel, is unlike any restaurant I had ever been to before. Chef Eric Ziebold and his staff man the kitchen, which is partially visible from the dining room, with poise, elegance, and great showmanship. His team serves diners either through a six course tasting menu or a four course prix fixe menu (vegetarian option available for the six course option), with an optional cheese course and wine pairing.

 This photograph is not mine. It belongs to ©2013 Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group and came from their website

The dining room is dimly lit and feels relatively small, so you feel like the chef, the waiters, and the other privileged diners are in on this amazing culinary journey with you. You can watch the chefs prepare your food, and drool when other diners are served before you. The four courses consist of an appetizer, fish, meat, and dessert (you can throw a cheese course in between the meat and dessert if you want--I did).

For me, the meat course was the best part of the meal. After the first two dishes my interest was peaked and my palette was ready for something a little more robust and carnivorous. I opted for roasted Kanagy Farm shoat loin with mushrooms and spinach, and it was divine. The mushrooms gave the dish an earthy depth of flavor, and the spinach brightened up the heavy shoat loin. As a disclaimer, this was on the menu when I went at the beginning of this year (2013), but they change their menu seasonally. However, I have total faith that their meat dishes are just as good now as they were six months ago.

I left CityZen pleasantly full and extremely satisfied. CityZen was definitely the best dining experience I have ever had at a restaurant, in terms of atmosphere, attentiveness of the waitstaff, food quality, and overall experience. However, this experience is not at all cheap--the four course tasting menu is $90 without tax, additions, or upgrades, and the six course tasting menu is $110. But if you live off of ramen noodles for a few weeks and save up some money, it'll be worth it.

Visit CityZen at the Mandarin Oriental at 1330 Maryland Ave, SW
Washington, DC 20024 CityZen on Urbanspoon

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