Sunday, December 16, 2012

Out to Dinner: AZN

Saturday night we tried a new restaurant for dinner - AZN, recently opened in Piedmont Town Center. AZN describes itself as "upscale pan-Asian", and the prices reflect that - appetizers in the $10 range, cocktails $9 to $11, and entrees from $12 to $30. We got there at 7:15 and the restaurant was about half full. It filled in some as we ate and was nearly full by the time we left. Service was uneven at the beginning of the meal, with people who appeared to be managers circling the dining room every couple of minutes but inexplicably not noticing that we needed drink refills. For some reason, once the room started to fill up, the managers and servers became more attentive and we had no further issues.

I started with a vegetarian sushi roll.

This was excellent. It had cucumber, avocado, carrot, pickled turnip, and pickled burdock root (along with one or two things I don't remember - I should have taken notes). The pickled vegetables gave it brightness, and the flavors blended very well. I enjoyed this much more than my vegetarian roll at Cowfish last week. The roll was more compact and easier to eat, with a better ratio of rice to filling. Also, this roll had a seaweed wrap, unlike the Cowfish roll which was wrapped in flavorless soy paper. I didn't realize it until I ate this roll, but I really need that seaweed flavor in a sushi roll - it just doesn't seem quite right without it.

My main course was Cantonese roasted duck.

I enjoyed this, and brought about half of it home - duck is rich and heavy! The meat was moist and flavorful. It was served with flour tortillas, cucumbers and scallions, and a sweet dipping sauce. My only quibble would be that I like duck better when the fat is completely rendered out of the skin - this had about a 1/4 inch layer of fat under the skin, which is a texture I'm not fond of. However, I think I'm an outlier in this respect - most people who like duck like it the way they served it. On the whole, we enjoyed our experience at AZN and would definitely go back.

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