Monday, December 19, 2011

ZenClay

ZenClay is one of the few coffeeshops in Morgantown. I had to meet my professor for office hours here, so I decided to kill two birds with one stone - have a review of this restaurant, too, while meeting with my professor. I had been here only once before, so I was looking forward to what else they had to offer.

Located along University Avenue, closer toward the Evansdale Campus, ZenClay is not only a cafe, but it's also a studio and gallery. The middle floor is the restaurant portion, and you can access it via the door on the side of building. Parking is available right there or across the street, and there's usually plenty of space.

When you walk in, you know it's an art gallery. The interior is decorated with sculptures and paintings and other art in a really clean and sophisticated way. After going through a second set of doors, the counter where you order is right there. Small paper menus are available, but I had already perused their website, so I had a good idea of what I wanted. I chose the Ananda sandwich - a panko-breaded eggplant, organic greens, cucumber, tomato, muenster cheese, and honey mustard on a sourdough bread. It came with a side of their sweet chili slaw and chips. I also grabbed a bottle of water from the cooler. I paid for my meal and found my professor where we began chatting.

Soon enough, a plate was delivered with my sandwich and sides. The chips were dark blue tortillas, tasted like a regular tortilla chip. The slaw was not my favorite - it was runny, and the sauce wasn't too tasty to me. It just didn't have that little creamy kick; it was more like not-quite-the-mark slimy. The sandwich looked delicious though. I bit into it and caught the distinct taste of a picked cucumber. It was quite potent and kind of took over the flavor. I then tasted the crumbly eggplant, which was fantastic. I wanted more of that eggplant, but the other flavors fell to the wayside in the presence of that honey mustard.

Honey mustard comes in a variety of forms, and some are great and some are not so much. This was the latter. I couldn't put my finger (or tastebud) on what it was that made it so strong, but it tasted like horseradish. It was too strong, and it, along with the pickled cucumber, took over the flavors of everything else. I really wish I could have gotten a taste for those other flavors, because I'm sure they were fantastic. But the sandwich didn't let them sing.

For under $10, though, it was something different. And it's really a cool environment because of the local art. It's pleasant to eat local food among local art because you can get a true feeling for Morgantown - not just the college scene. It's a place to check out, and next time, I want to see the other floors.

Grade: C
Zenclay Cafe on Urbanspoon