Tuesday, August 31

Zola, Zola, Zola. You've been a bad restaurant!

The first time I ever went to Zola, it was Restaurant Week. H and M and I made a reservation at this lovely "restaurant of leaves", so to speak, and I for one was very excited. The thing about Zola, which was unlike any other restaurant I had been to up to that point, was their RW menu. They didn't limit the choices their guests had, and everything they offered for lunch and dinner was up for grabs. So, if you ordered appetizer, entree and dessert, you got the discounted price, no matter your choices. Bravo, Zola. Bra. Vo.
I had the tune tartare (big surprise) and the lamb, and some chocolatey dessert. I melted into my seat with each bite, and had to summon every ounce of sophisticated energy I had NOT to hum and dance in my seat as I ate. Five Noms!
I have been to Zola a few times since, always during Restaurant Week (I'm not rich. Yet.), and always with the highest of expectations.
So I was pretty deflated when my latest RW experience at Zola didn't live up to my hype. Sigh.
My server was definitely new. His name was Jeffrey and it took him 10 minutes to greet me after I was seated. Of course, I had already known what I was going to eat before I got there, as I research the crap out of every restaurant menu online before I arrive. Meh, whatever, I was in no rush and had brought a book with me. (Yes, I am that girl, and no, I don't feel pathetic. Eating solo lunches is relaxing to me, and I do not think this is a sign that I will end up a multiple cat-owner and the subject of an episode of "Hoarding.")
Jeffrey apologizes, takes my order, and brings me a glass of water. Then he brings the ginger lemonade, which was a bit too tart for me, even though they obviously added grenadine to sweeten it up and make it look pretty.
I get the appetizer, fava bean and pancetta tortelloni, which was absolutely incredible. It was sauced perfectly, the pasta was cooked to perfection, and there were complex flavors all up in that bitch.
My main entree was beef sirloin over quinoa with asparagus and a mushroom glaze. The flavors here were a bit overwhelming, but the asparagus, which was chopped into the quinoa, gave it a great crunchy texture. The mushroom glaze had no real mushrooms in it (score!), and that is where all the intense flavors came in. For something that is supposed to be a glaze, it tasted more like a reduction, and I found myself reaching for my water glass more often than not. The beef was cooked exactly as I had wanted it (medium), and there was not a piece of it left on the plate; it had been butchered to eliminate those fatty outer bits I hate so much.
I decided to go with the peach cobbler with vanilla/blueberry ice cream for dessert. Served in a tart dish, I thought the peaches were nice, not too sweet. But there was a lot more liquid in it than I had expected, and it was so hot when I got it that I asphyxiated on the crumble topping and started hacking like a choke victim right there at my table. After about 5 minutes of this, not a single person had checked on me, and I continued to eat my dessert through teary eyes. (I wasn't crying, people. That's what happens when you asphyxiate on crumbles. Duh.) I couldn't really taste any blueberry in the ice cream either, but I still liked it, even though the contrast of the hot cobbler to the cold ice cream made my sensitive teeth scream in agony. I guess you could say that it wasn't the most successful dessert experience I've ever had.
Oh, one more thing. Did you ever have the bread basket at Zola? It comes with a little butter dish with what I think it roasted crystallized garlic on the top of it that looks like raw sugar, and their flatbread is amazing!! Too bad Jeffrey never brought me my bread. Sad face.
So usually, Zola gets a 4.5 out of 5, but this time around, I can only give it 3 noms. But I still love you, Zola. See you at winter Restaurant Week 2011!


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