In honor of my favorite promotion dinner club finally resumed for Dine Around Seattle in November. I had been to Restaurant Zoe about 4 years ago, however it had been long enough that it was like trying it for the first time. I have to say I was thoroughly impressed with my second experience. Having previous done the “3 for $30” at Lola’s the week before, feeling less than satisfied with my meal, I wasn’t sure what to expect.
I was of course very excited to see the infamous gnudi on the menu, which all I can say is wow, they are in fact spectacular. Little bits of heaven filled with ricotta cheese. Perfectly cooked semolina balls resembling traditional Italian gnocchi but with a twist, more like ricotta encased in a semolina light dough entrenched in a beautifully rich and creamy sauce served with the perfectly crisp sage. A few other dinner club members tried the pear and celery soup which they said was good, but nothing special. The mixed green salad seemed to be pretty standard fare.
The majority of us chose the “whole hog” more out of intrigue turning out to be the hit of the night. Imagine slowly roasted pulled pork that is coated in a lovely batter, cooked to be perfect crisp on the outside and moist and flavorful in the center. Accompanied by caramelized apples, braised endive and a lovely crisp apple fennel salad with pistachios garnished with cilantro. A combination of flavors I would of never picked together that perfectly complimented each other. I went out on a limb with this dish, not what I would normally pick, however I was pleasantly surprised. A few others picked the delicious and flavorful roasted chicken with a succulent broth and roasted root vegetables. This chicken may have outdone Crow’s (my favorite restaurant/dish in Seattle). Individual flavors shined in both entrees, yet truly melding together to create a delightful entree.
Dessert of course still remains my favorite part of the mail. I wish I had picked the maple vanilla panna cotta, perfectly prepared served with cranberries and walnuts. I chose the dense and uber rich chocolate souffle cake. The pumpkin ice cream was exquisite, served with whipped cream and caramelized pumpkin seeds. And last but not least the special dessert of the night, described to us by our waiter as a gourmet snickers bar turned out to be a delicious salty, chocolaty, caramel concoction that did not resemble a snickers bar in the least rather beautifully rich but not overly rich layers of chocolate, caramel, nougat encased in dark chocolate.
Zoe has earned a spot on my list of favorite place to eat in Seattle. Not only does the food shine, but the service including attention to detail. I of course loved that we each had our own bread plate with a few pieces of bread already waiting for us upon arrival. The large windows overlook Belltown give a bright airy feeling to the restaurant. I call the design, smart, modern, sophisticated without being too pretentious. Our waitor was able to suggest two bottles of wine in our under $40 price range, both Sangiovese, turning out to be completely different both complementing them meal well. As always enjoyable company makes the meal.