Restaurant Reviews

Zed451 Steps Up Its Game

Usually when we bash a restaurant, as we did with a review of Zed451 in November 2008, the place fades into restaurant obscurity and eventually quietly closes. It's not that restaurant critics have a crystal ball — it's just that bad restaurants tend to die early deaths. Not so with Zed, which took its early lumps as lessons. First off, this churrasquería-style restaurant lowered its prices: The salad-bar-only option dropped from $33 to $22, and the full meat parade went from $59 to $44. Brunch on Sundays is a downright steal at $24, which includes breakfast fare on the salad bar, the churrasquería meats, and a dessert station. For those not interested in the roving meats, Zed added a new à la carte menu. The restaurant also solved the issue of bland offerings, and now the "harvest table" includes creative and flavorful dishes like spiced Fuji apple salad, watermelon with feta, mini-bruscetta-stuffed tomatoes with balsamic reduction, and a radically creamy and spicy tomato soup with garlic-crusted croutons. The offerings were enough to keep two vegetarians in our group busy long after the meat eaters quit. And there's plenty to sample when it comes to the meat: The roving chefs doling out slices of skewered meat serve such gems as New Zealand red deer meat with a red wine reduction, braised Asian pork belly, Moroccan chicken, and a bottom sirloin marinated for four days in herbed buttermilk. If you haven't quit after all that, go for the s'more pie, a tart of graham cracker with a roasted marshmallow center, a bittersweet chocolate ganache, a sour cherry compote, and two kinds of ice cream. Yeah, Zed451 fixed its problems, and we're glad it listened.