ZuZu and Olive & Ivy
We went to these two spots this weekend.
Olive & Ivy was Friday night. We'd made reservations through OpenTable and were glad we did. Arriving at 6:45 the restaurant was buzzing, our hostess took us to our table immediately and said that without our reservation we would have had to wait until 9pm to get seated. I must add that the bar scene was amazing = all the beautiful young things seemed to be in attendence!
Anyway, I had the Lamb Shank and my partner had the Mahi Special. A Spanish wine from the list and we were off and running. Nice wine list but priced for Scottsdale.
My LS was falling off the bone but not overcooked thank goodness. My partner advised me that the Mahi was excellent too.
For desert she had the trio of chocolate (gelato, mousse and hot chocolate) and I had the churro. Oh ghod, the trio was out of this world!!! Skip the churro though.
We are going back to O&I for sure.
The next night we went to Cafe ZuZu. Very stylish dining room but we found the food to be just okay. My partner had an Ahi Slider and the Mac & Cheese, I had the Salmon Special. The wine list was very limited and not interesting at all. Had the butterscotch bread pudding for desert and found it on the dry side and I thought lacking in flavor.
We don't need to go back there, we did look in on Trader Vics's and the room was busy (ZuZu wasn't) and will give it a try on our next pass through the area.
Extremely underwhelmed by dinner last night at ZuZu for Chef's table. Menu seemed a little odd to me in the first place but ignored it since they were featuring beautiful winter truffles.
Creamy Grits with Braised Duck
shaved white truffles
meyer lemon risotto + black truffles
Black Bottom Caramel Pudding
Duck confit, especially the skin, should be luscious. This, well, wasn't. It wasn't bad, mind you, but I wasn't great. Grits were a great addition and the pinot noir served balanced the richness of the duck nicely.
Scallops were probably well and good (quality-wise), but I'm not a huge scallop person. I ate every last bite of the risotto, but I didn't understand the artichokes. To start, they're hard to pair with wine (the sauv blanc served was ok, added some nice acidity but as expected, was sweeter than intended) and seemed slightly underdone.
Dessert was good but I think something lighter would have been better. Also, it's a layered pudding, serve it in a martini glass! The small white ramekin didn't do much for the presentation.
Two other things left me scratching my head - there must have been a bachelorette party at the hotel, as they were running through the bar area and on the patio making a scene. I tried to ignore it for a while, but after about 30 minutes or so the camera flashes and distraction started to get old. The second thing was the table that was seated nearby us had ordered from the menu and one of the women seemed to be having some problems. I think there may have been a problem with one of the courses, but she kept complaining at the table and soon had her dining partners join in the b*tch-fest. One of the gentlemen who seemed to enjoy his meatloaf and offered it to the table then turned against the server and said it was "un-servable". Now I'm not too sure the restaurant had a fighting chance of rectifying the situation seeing as how fast everything turned, but they became quite a nuisance and really needed to be coddled. If they were across the room, this probably wouldn't have been an issue, but as they were 10 ft away from us, slightly soured the experience.
All in all, I'm willing to go back, but I don't think everything was up to par last evening. I'm disappointed and think it could have been a good meal. Unfortunately, it wasn't.
Didn't miss much, I hate to say. The chef showed off a wonderfully aromatic black truffle before the first course was brought out - that was probably the highlight. I will give it another chance, based on a very good dinner and service during the Wattle Creek Chef's table last year. I'm just disappointed in my experience last night but considering the price with the wine pairings, I think it's a good value. I also spoke at length with the manager/beverage director...he mentioned going after more wineries to showcase during the Chef's table. I'll be on the lookout for those in the future.
As to future events, the March menus are below.
Monday, March 5: The Great White
hearts of palm + garlic cream
Braised Pork Belly
roasted cipollini + foraged mushrooms
truffle gnocchi, English peas + tomato confit
Peach Tarte Tatin
honey mascarpone cream + blackberry nectar
Monday, March 12: Spring Mushrooms
Crispy Shiitakes and Goat Cheese
Grilled Trumpet Royale Mushrooms
preserved lemon + micro arugula
Pan Roasted Diver Scallops
sweet pea agnolotti + morels
Fig and Chocolate Rustica
blood orange sherbet, champagne sabayon + port syrup
Monday, March 19: The Beers of Four Peaks
Coriander Dusted Ahi and Spring Vegetables
Smoked Niman Ranch Pork Loin
molasses glaze + roasted garlic mash
Westfield Farm “Hubbardson Blue”
stuffed zucchini + balsamic onion marmalade
Morello Cherry Upside Down Cake
chocolate sauce + citrus anglaise
Monday, March 26: Birds of a Feather
Chile Rubbed Quail
served in a corn crepe
Breast of Squab
foie gras + medjool dates
Petit Poussin Roasted with Lemon and Garlic
Wild Strawberry Tart
black peppercorn ice cream + caramel crisp