Have gotten into many an argument here about Zuni and felt I was being too harsh and should give it another try. Last night, was no exception, nothing was fantastic and one item was just plain bad.
To start, we shared a quarter dungeness crab. The crab was fine, however it was served with an aioli (can't remember if it had garlic, may have just been mayo) that had clearly been sitting around for hours and had grown a layer of protective "skin." My date found it tasty, I found it disturbing. I prefer my crab naked anyway, so it wasn't that big of a deal, but the kitchen, if they isist on serving aioli/mayonaise with their crab needs to add a little lemon and water so that the diner does not end up losing bits of crab to the quagmire of snot in the bowl.
Next we were interested in the olio nuevo (sp? sorry) but really just wanted to taste the olive oil in it's pure form. We asked if we could please just purchase a shot of it in a wine glass, and were told that was not a possiblity. We ordered the dish, which was the olive oil we wanted to try, soaked over a day old grilled piece of toast, which really took away from its beautiful flavor. Accompanying said toast was ribbons of carrots and purple cabbage. Next time I'll order the dish with the toast and "crudite" on the side.
The third dish was the by far the most disappointing. Potato Leek soup with "shaved" black truffles (they were,in actuality, a chiffonade). This was so disappointing I had a few bites to make sure it was as a bad as I thought, and upon confirmation I could not finish it. The soup was gritty and flat (flavorless)-there was not even a hint of leek or truffle. The truffle was clearly himalayan or from Oregon, and thrown in the soup as a means of justifying it's $12 cost.
Our last course was the risotto with duck sugo. Here is the one thing they did right. The risotto was cooked to absolute perfection. It was al dente, and not the mushy blob I have been avoiding at restaurants for years. Perfectly cooked risotto aside, the dish lacked any flavor and requird a hefty amount of salt to make it palatable.
So, I am still completely confused as to why this restaurant is so revered...a good cesar and burger does not a wonderful restaurant make.