Our Gourmet: Z Food and Drink a hit for all senses
The menu is set up differently than most places.
Instead of your standard appetizer, entrée and dessert listings, the menu instead has a list of upscale tacos, a “Kind of Cooked” menu, “Smalls and Salads” list and “Meals.” If you like to sample a few different things or something you haven't tried before, this menu makes it easy for you to do just that. It's also great for those with smaller appetites. Z offers a decent wine list and an interesting list of cocktails.
The menu, while condensed, is quite varied and even includes a daily vegan or vegetarian option.
Starters/small plates: 18/20
Our Gourmet: I tried the Duck Taco off the taco list ($4). The taco, comprised of duck confit, hoisin glaze, siracha sour cream, avocado and pickled cabbage, had a bite from the sour cream and the duck was tender. I also couldn't resist ordering the yummy gouda-stuffed Tater Tots ($5) as I'm a sucker for anything with cheese. Great way to start. 9/10
The Dining Companion: I started with the Tuna Taco ($4.50). I'd never been served a taco compromised of anything like sashimi tuna, seared rare, mango salsa, daikon sprouts and wasabi sour cream laid out with such elegance, and a side of lime. Each bite hit with freshly blended flavors that finished with a smooth and subtle wasabi kick. It was a pleasant surprise to both pupil and palette. 9/10
OG: I thought I knew what I was going to order, but after hearing from the server what the protein of the day was, I opted for the New York strip steak served with a lobster and potato hash and green beans and carrots ($32). New York strip is my favorite cut and I was not disappointed. The steak was tasty with a great sear on the outside and cooked a perfect medium-rare. I love a medium-rare steak but usually end up with medium. Not here. The side dishes were a bit salty, but admittedly I was completely focused on the steak. 8/10
TDC: For my main course I chose a full portion of Lobster Risotto (half, $18 full, $32). In addition to the lobster tail and knuckle, I enjoyed a generous amount of claw meat visually cloaked in a tasty medley of pancetta, carmelized onions, mushrooms, marscapone and carnorole rice. I learned that bacon, called by another name (specifically pancetta), is just as effective at making everything taste better.
I enjoyed every bite as I ate my way through the depths of a rounded triangle that was the center of my artistic plate. 8/10
OG: The dessert menu features Colossal Cake Babies, which can be best described as oversized cupcakes (“Only Child,” $6; “Twins,” $10; “Triplets,” $14). TDC ordered the one I really wanted so thinking I'd steal a I bite, I opted for the “Jimmy”: a key lime cake with lime curd filling, key lime crème and toasted coconut. It was a big portion, one you could definitely split with someone. The key lime crème was overly sweet for something I expected to be tart. More curd and less cream would have balanced out the dish. Of course, dessert isn't dessert without coffee. And coffee doesn't get any fresher than when served from a French press. It was delicious and when I was ready for my second cup, I didn't have to flag down the server. 7/10
TDC: After going two for two I was excited to give the dessert menu a try. I had the “Reese” and was immediately struck by its thickness as I cut through my first piece. Each bite sang praises to the beloved matrimony of chocolate and peanut butter. 9/10
Final thoughts 18/20
While we had to wait a few minutes for someone to seat us, the service overall was very good. Our server was attentive but not overbearing. As TDC says, if you don't notice the service that much, it's a good thing. We'd be remiss if we didn't mention the atmosphere.
More art gallery than restaurant, Z is bright and welcoming. It'd make a great first-date place, as the architectural details give you something to talk about. And if you are really bored you can play with one of the kitschy items left on each table. We had a Mini Etch-a-Sketch and the table next to us had a Magic Eight Ball. Will you have a good time here? The Magic Eight Ball says yes.
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