I'll be the first to admit it: I haven't been kind to Zola's in the past... the menu hadn't changed in what seemed to be forever, preparations seemed lackluster, and on more than one occasion, I've had to send food back.
BUT -- I will gladly be the first to give a major shout out to Chef Kendeffy's new approach: a bi-weekly changing menu featuring 5 appetizers, a soup, 2 salads, and 6 entrees -- while still offering their 'signature' dishes like the Zola crab cake, or the crispy red snapper.
Yesterday was the first night with the new menu, so naturally, I had to check it out.
The menu in its entirety can be found here, btw: http://www.zolabistro.com/zola.html
I had three appetizers:
puree of parsnip soup
basil oil / creme fraiche
very nice -- I usually don't get too excited about parsnip or soup...
basil-ginger infused smoked salmon
blood orange / radish / apple
Smoked in-house, with a distinctive basil flavor to it. The combination with blood orange and apple was great, though I'm not sure the radish worked so well.
spice crusted sweetbreads
cognac green peppercorn sauce / fingerling potatoes
This was perfect. I absolutely love sweetbreads, and they were simply fantastic.
My man had one app and one entree:
tasting of yellowfin tuna:
sesame crusted / tartare / tempura sushi
None of these are particularly innovative tuna ideas, but all three were nicely executed. The tartare was perhaps slightly overwhelmed by the dressing.
tasting of lamb
pecan rosemary crusted chop / spanish merguez sausage / hachis parmentier
The chop was cooked perfectly (medium-rare), though I'd say the crust was a little too intense; the merguez was nicely paired with an orange sauce. Turns out 'hachis parmentier' is a fancy way of saying sheperd's pie. Very good, but not one of my favorites.
One of the night's favorite dishes clearly was the bacon-wrapped filet mignon with tarragon butter and topped with marrow. We saw at least 10 of those leave the kitchen.
All in all, a highly satisfactory experience. I am already looking forward to the next menu, and recommend to the Happy Valley residents to check it out! Zola's is BACK!