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Zula A Disappointment

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Restaurants & Bars

Zula A Disappointment

Eli Udo | Mar 23, 2006 10:57 AM

I've begun travelling from my home in NYC to Houston regularly. At the suggestion of the concierge and some old chowhound postings, I gave Zula a try.

Sorry to report a big disappointment. This New American is touted as one of Houston's finest restaurants and at $25-35 per entree, it's fair to expect fine dining.

Surprising, then, that there was no one to greet us, . Eventually, the bus boy hailed one of the waiters, who boistrously invited us to "sit where y'all please!!" Now, I love the South, but if I wanted a ho-down, I would've gone to No Name or one of the other outstanding BBQ spots in town.

Zula never seemed to grok that distinction. Service was loud and excessively familiar without actually being helpful. When we asked for specials (and yes, we had to ask) we were treated to "not only our specials, but some of my personal favorites." By sheer coincidence, these were limited to the two most expensive entrees and the three most expensive wines. I mean, really.

Service notwithstanding, the food was a shambles. "Pure lumpmeat" crabcake was nothing of the kind. Instead, it was more a processed crab gruel, extruded then shaped. Worthy of your school cafeteria.

Entrees were pretty but the joy ended when you bit into them. A smoked porkchop tasted of neither smoke nor pork. The "delicately pan seared" wahoo was three massicated chunks, sitting atop a glob of rissotto, and swimming in a bath of cold salsa. This latter was described on the menu as a "savory tomato coulis." Sorry, neither.

Perhaps it was an off night for Zula. I wonder if others have had a different experience in recent months? I'd certainly am open to believing better of the place.

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