Durham >Food & Dining > Cafe Zen Asian Bistro & Sushi
406 Blackwell St., Ste 150, Durham, NC | Directions 2770135.992186 -78.904933
Neighborhoods: Bull Durham, Downtown
Worst Service around – I used to frequent this place. Work in the area. Close, convenient & HAD good food. Last 6 times i've been there, my order has been wrong. I vowed not to go back, but wanted some Hibachi. Decided to give 1 more try. Got back to my desk and order was wrong. So, I phoned. The lady answered and said "Sorry." and hung up on me. So I called back, asked for manager. Lady said she was the manager and they are busy so she didn't have time to talk to me. I asked if they always hang up on customers and she said "i'm busy". Well, there were only 6 ppl in the restaurant when I picked up my order not even 10 mins before... AND it was 2pm! how busy do they get at 2pm???? She said she would redo my order.. well, if I had that kind of time to go back down, i would have just eaten in the restaurant and taken 1hr for lunch! So i thought I'd leave it be and eat what I received.... 1/2 thru the hibachi, I found 2 short black hairs ! Yes, the cook forgot his hat! so, I am completely disgusted with the service, the lack of respect to their customers, and now the food. I don't think I will ever be able to eat there again.
AVOID AT ALL COSTS – Horrible Experience, Horrible Food, Horrible Management. Don't spend your money here, you'll regret it. One plus... they took a risk a went to Durham.
Great restaurant – I had eaten at Cafe Zen a few dozen times. Something has changed over the last year or so. I have tried to look the other way for the last 4 or 5 times, b/c of all of the past good experiences. However, it just keeps getting worse.
The management seems to be just waiting until they have so little business that they can close. The wait staff is new and terrible. I recently had an awful experience in which I was never given water despite asking every time that I saw him, the salad was not served with the meal despite the fact that it came with, and the waiter said that our child could not have juice as it was reserved for the bar. When I approached them about this experience, I was given the chance to have a salad to go. When I told them that I did not want that, there were no other options presented. Terrible experience all around.
Low Quality Food, Customer Service is Worse!!! – After placing an order via telephone to Cafe Zen, I got home and realized that I had received the wrong order. After calling to nicely let the resturant know, and offer to drive the 20 minutes back to the resturant from my home to pick up my correct order, I was told that "it is the chef's choice what I receive from him," not my own. I was yelled at over the phone, and they refused to replace my order with my correct order. On top of that, their sushi is never even comparable to that of toher local resturants. Had I not been in a hurry, I would have never gone there. I will certainly never go back, and don't recommend this resturant to ANYONE.
good sushi – my boyfriend and i visited here before going to the durham bulls game. they seem to have the same menu as tokyo house in raleigh (not sure if they are owned by the same people but it was the exact same menu). we ordered sushi and sashimi for two, a tempura appetizer, and drinks. it was PLENTY of sushi, we couldn't finish it all. it was fresh and delicious. the service was good, they were pretty quiet but nice.
bad tast, awful attitude!!! – I had my worst and unpleasant dining experience in this place. My boyfriend and I stopped by at this place during our visit to Durham. I ordered hibachi steak and shrimp. The food looked great but when I took the first bite, I was disappointed to see that the food was extremely sweet and salty. It looked like having a lots sugar added to food to cover too much salt. I have had hibachi style food many times and food did not tasted even close to any of them. I dine outside at least once a week and I am not a fussy person about the food. However, this time was different. I could not take bite. I politely asked waitress either prepare it with less salt and sugar or if I could change the order. She called for the owner. He came to my table and told me that this was the way they prepare the food and I must take it as it is. He told me that he would not return the food and I must pay for it. He did not even accept to prepare another dish for a discounted price. We did not argue since it did not worth ruining our trip. I was extremely offended by his rude attitude and the lack of hospitability in that restaurant. I did not touch the food however we paid and left. I called the Durham visitor center and filled a complaint. Now I am warning you if you are seeking a good food and hospitability, do not step in Café Zen in Durham North Carolina.
mean, awful manager, poor service – Do not go to this restaurant!It should have been a clue when the waiter told me that his manager sucked when I requested limes (they server only lemons)when he brought my pad thai.My friend found that her meat was too rare, so she and the waiter decided that he would take the food and they would recook the meat she had set aside. When it came back, she had considerably less food on it and the meat was still not cooked well.When she inquired, the waiter looked dumbfounded and eventually asked what he could do to fix it.My friend asked that she be served a fresh version of her dish.The mgr came out and was explaining that she didn't say how she wanted it cooked (the first time).When she made mention of the missing food, he became a little louder and was belligerent about how, as he put it, we were saying they stole her food.We told him that we didn't know what happened, but she had a third of the noodles and vegetables that she had before the plate was sent back.I said I couldn't believe that he was arguing with us because we were being very nice considering.He mentioned the stolen food again and was very agitated, to the point that I felt threatened and stood up to leave.I told him to call the police because we were leaving.We just weren't going to put up with the way he was ARGUING with us.People were staring because he was so awful. She ended up sending it back again, but of course could not eat it when it came back out still with hardly any food on the plate. He did not offer anything.They could have served her again and it would have been EASY.He said that he was the owner, but I can't believe that he owned the place.I have never been treated so poorly at a restaurant.When I wanted to take a picture of him (I wanted to post it or something, I was so flustered, I don't know what), he put his hand in my face and later came out with a picture of him and Magic Johnson to show.Still no apology.He did not care about pleasing his guests at all.I'm still upset about it.
Over-priced, under-flavored, small portions. ick. – Expensive, small portions, low quality. 2 of 3 are acceptable, but Cafe Zen nails all 3. I've given this place 4 or 5 chances, as I work in ATC, and I've been disappointed every time.
Cozy cafe offers sophisticated Asian cuisine in an Old South setting. – In Short
Located in the newly renovated American Tobacco Historical District, this tiny bistro just manages to find the space for two hibachi tables, a sleek sushi bar and a couple of outdoor tables for warm nights. The mostly Japanese and Thai dishes include a wide selection of sushi, noodle bowls and hibachi-style entrees. You'll also find innovative seafood dishes flavored with chili-based and lemongrass sauces that range from off-the-charts hot to mildly spicy.
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