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April 19, 2008

Zed 451

by gastronomicbypass

Location – 739 N. Clark (Clark and Superior)

In one word – Effort

Food – So my preface to this entry is that I went to the (free) pre-opening party for this restaurant and as a result got to try EVERYTHING. That’s why it’s going to look like I was Miss Piggy all night long in this review. This old Sal and Carvao space transformed into a wooden sleek scene and was overall very impressive. In terms of food, it was good, not great. When the place officially opens (4/22), the schtick will be its Harvest Table. Essentially, all you can eat for about $50 (just like the Brazilian steakhouses in the area). They have their share of steak, lamb and chicken (straight from the oven served directly on your plate). I was drawn to the cheese, particularly the cheese fondue. I heard that Fontina was in the fondue, and immediately I thought “Sold!” They’ve got a nice fruit and veggie selection: okra, marinated green beans, poached pears with goat cheese, apples seasoned with jalepeno and lime and bruschetta. I did enjoy the desserts, one cobbler had a butterscotch flavor. That won me over. So yes, I liked the food. The food selection is vast. However, in their attempt to serve it all, they stumble a little bit when it comes to attaining food perfection.

Drinks – This is their strength. I tried the orange sangria, which was VERY fruitty. Then the server recommended the cucumber sage martini. This was, by far, my favorite. Watch yourself though, it goes down too smooth.

Service – It was a little hard to judge given that this was a pre-opening party. The staff was very attentive, so I hope that carries through to when they’re open for real.

Scene – The party was really sceney. The crowd was pretty mixed, from young 20-somethings to the seniors. I really like the aesthetics of the restaurant. There’s a lot of wood and glass, which makes for a pretty sophisticated feel. Downstairs is the main dining space and a lounge. They have an upstairs dining room and a rooftop area. My eating partners and I discussed how we might not come here for dinner, but we would definitely come after work to the lounge just because the space is great.

Dress – At this party, people were putting their all into their look. Lots of little black dresses and men’s suits. Perhaps it’s because it’s the beginning of spring now, and folks are ancy to show off their latest additions to their wardrobe. No matter, this is one of the few places, I might recommend brushing your hair before coming.

Cost – That’s the beauty of the pre-opening party, the night was free. However, I think when the restaurant officially opens, you could spend about $100 per person with food, drink, tax and tip. My recommendation is that with the Harvest Table concept, you load up on food. This way you can really get the bang for your mucho bucks.

If you like, try…Fogo de Chao, Custom House

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