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Zen Zen Sushi & Teriyaki: Try the art of Zen eating on East Pine Street in Central Point

Zen is a school of Buddhism that emphasizes the value of intuition and meditation and teaches one not to worry about things you cannot change. Zen Zen essentially means no worries, no problems. I decided to try the Zen Zen restaurant in downtown Central Point last week to see how this philosophy was embodied in the food experience.

As you enter the restaurant, the atmosphere is very relaxing. A combination of dark brown and tan walls provide a soothing background. White birch tree cutouts brighten the dark walls.

Floral inserts provide bright color. It was lunchtime, and the restaurant was filled with customers. The mood was one of quiet relaxation.

The menu at Zen Zen is divided between standard Japanese entrees such as tempura, teriyaki dishes, Udon (noodle soup) and a Bento Special (teriyaki chicken, California roll, tempura, pot stickers and rice). The second half of the menu features an extensive variety of sushi, sashimi and a page and a half of special rolls. For a small restaurant, the size and diversity of the menu was quite impressive.

I decided to try something from each half of the menu. The Spicy Chicken Teriyaki included stir-fried vegetables and chicken in a sweet and spicy sauce ($14.50). The Shrimp Tempura appetizer also looked good ($11). On the other side of the menu, I decided to try the Central Point Roll (deep-fried crab, avocado and cream cheese roll lightly breaded with panko bread crumbs topped with masago, sweet sauce and wasabi sauce ($7).

The Spicy Chicken Teriyaki included celery, carrots, cabbage and broccoli with chicken in a sweet and not-too-spicy sauce. The blend of sweet with spicy was delicious. The Shrimp Tempura was light and perfectly cooked. Dipping the shrimp in soy sauce enhanced the flavor.

From the other side of the menu, the Central Point Roll was a blend of the cooked crab, avocado and cheese mixed together in a roll with a sweet wasabi sauce. The outer layer of the roll had a light layer of panko bread crumbs.

After eating lunch at Zen Zen, I decided that the no-worries, no-problem attitude applied to the entire dining experience. The owners have worked hard to establish a soothing environment to relax and enjoy your meal. Each meal is carefully prepared and presented in a thoughtful way. It is definitely a restaurant that I will visit again and again.

Zen Zen is located at 223 East Pine St. in Central Point (541-665-9888). There is street parking available around the restaurant. Takeout is also available. The restaurant is open Monday through Friday with split hours: open 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. for lunch; closed from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m.; open for dinner from 4:30 to 9 p.m. On Saturday, the restaurant is open for lunch at noon, closed from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m.; open for dinner from 4:30 to 9 p.m. Zen Zen is closed on Sunday.

The Spicy Chicken Teriyaki includes celery, carrots, cabbage and broccoli with chicken in a sweet and not-to-spicy sauce. (Photo by Cheryl Pearson)