At Zenna, Asian cuisine is elemental
The tranquil ambience is palpable as soon as you enter Zenna Noodle Bar, a Vietnamese-Thai restaurant in Brookline. A new Buddha to the right of the entrance welcomes you to an earth-toned room where diners are savoring bowls of Vietnamese pho, the rice noodle soup. This version is brimming with crisp carrots, snow peas, yellow squash, broccoli, and thick slices of chicken or beef rib eye, served with Thai basil and bean sprouts to add to it ($9.95). Tien Truong, the owner and chef, arranged the menu to express the four elements: air (appetizers), water (noodle soups), fire (stir-fries and curries), and earth (salads and vegetarian dishes). Among the specialties are crisp fried shrimp on a mound of lightly battered sweet potatoes served with nuoc cham, the Vietnamese dipping sauce ($9.95); a chili lime seafood salad of shrimp, scallops, crab, and vegetables with lemongrass and mint dressed in a lemony vinaigrette ($15.95); and Thai-inspired tamarind duck in a delicate sweet-sour sauce ($17.95). Zenna just reopened after six weeks because of an electrical fire that started next door. The Buddha will see to the place’s future good fortune. Zenna Noodle Bar, 1374 Beacon St., Brookline, 617-566-0566 or www.zennanoodle.com.