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"Z" Restaurant (Manchester, NH) - Any info?

Rabbit Apr 1, 2007 08:01 AM

A recent thread on Manchester restaurants made favourable mention of a new restaurant called Z (on Elm Street).

I did a quick search but couldn't find any more information (on CH or google). I'd like to hear more about this place... anyone??

  1. g
    gryphonskeeper Apr 1, 2007 10:49 AM

    It just opened last week, and is on Elm St Manchester where Little Saigon used to be if I remember right.

    I know it is billed as an upscale restaurant, but I have yet to try it out myself.

    1 Reply
    1. re: gryphonskeeper
      kaszeta Apr 2, 2007 06:10 AM

      Yeah, there was a big "Z's" sign on Little Saigon last month when I drove by.

      It's on my list, next time I'm in Manchester around dinnertime.

    2. b
      bostonman Apr 2, 2007 03:50 AM

      I'm from Manchester --- this sounds terrific and much needed, especially after Baldwin's closed.

      there website is up now...the place looks great. One of you guys needs to check it out --

      1 Reply
      1. re: bostonman
        sweettoothduo Apr 2, 2007 01:20 PM

        The menu looks really good. A friend is going to try it out tom.night. I will let you know what she thinks

      2. r
        Ratatouille Apr 3, 2007 10:56 AM

        I ate there for lunch today. I had the five onion grilled steak soup, a pomegranite/tangerine faux-cocktail, a coffee, and the Blazing Banannas dessert.

        The restaraunt had a modern artsy decor, an orange ceiling, and leather seats. There is a small bar, but it's nothing to write home about. It didn't feel particularly intimate, with the loud colors and as brightly lit as it was. Perhaps they dim the lights and light candles at night.

        Each table had a Rubik's Cube or a barrel of monkeys. I'm sure the Rubik's Cube will be popular, but I'm not so sure about the monkeys.

        Appropriate dress appeared to be business casual.

        As for the food, I wasn't very happy with the soup, but it was, I think, the first time I've had onion soup. It had a very strong flavor, and I was expecting something much milder like beef stew. It wasn't that I didn't like the flavor though, it was that it was way too strong, like when you put too much salt into something. Maybe that's normal for onion soup though. It was presented nicely at least.

        The coffee came out in a french press, which was a nice touch, but I didn't really think it improved the flavor of the coffee. The coffee was no better or worse than what I would get at Cotton or C.R. Sparks. Also, it was difficult to use the press and with those sorts of presses you end up with some grounds in your coffee. I guess the benefit is it allows you to brew the coffee longer if you like it stronger, but it didn't seem worth the effort just for a slightly more upscale dining experience. Also, the sugar was provided in lumps which again, maybe makes it seem more upscale, but aren't worth the bother, since they take a while to dissolve.

        The bananna desert was quite good. No complaints about that.

        The faux-cocktail on the other hand... tasted good, but seemed like it was just syrup in soda water. I was hoping for an actual fruit drink.

        The prices were reasonable... in the range you'd find at Cotton or C.R. Sparks.

        I'll go back at some point to try the chicken strips, but I probably won't make regular trips here. At cotton, I can relax and read my paper. But here I don't really think I'd be able to relax. Too brightly lit. Not casual enough. White tablecloths I have to worry about spilling stuff on.

        Dim the lights, light some candles or add some accent lighting, put up some blinds, lose the toys, and stick a tv next to the bar set to a news channel so people have a reason to sit there. The food's probably fine for the most part, but the atmosphere needs work.

        1. a
          amberld Apr 7, 2007 10:03 AM

          The website is www.zfoodanddrink.com.

          1. whs Apr 15, 2007 05:23 AM

            We had dinner at Z last night and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. The room is sophisticated but playful, and fairly intimate. At 8 pm, every table was taken, a good sign. There is a small bar area at the back, and thankfully, NO TV. This restaurant is playing to the crowd that misses Baldwin's and is seeking a more elegant dining experience. Gin and vodka martinis were well prepared, and offered with olive options--garlic or blue cheese stuffed. The menu is a little different--divided into Small, Salad, Simple and Signature categories. Conceivably, you could make a meal out of several small dishes, and it looks like Simple is for those who want a more straight-forward, "American" meal. Standouts among our appetizers were the mussels with coconut milk and lemon grass (a different take on the usual white wine and butter), and the flatbread with garlic cream and serrano ham--it had a funky pungency that was irresistable. One of our group had the steak soup and loved the deep oniony backnotes of the broth. For mains we had seared duck breast with hoisin sauce--this was outstanding--complex flavors complemented by a couple of duck confit spring rolls. The pork tenderloin was very good--crusted in mustard tossed breadcrumbs, moist and flavorful. The lobster risotto was perfectly prepared, not mushy. Our desserts were a hit--the creamsicle creme brulee and the blazing bananas with pecan brittle were delicious. We liked the french press coffee service--it adds a bit of ceremony to the end of the meal. Considering this place has been open only three weeks, the kitchen has hit the floor running and is operating flawlessly. OK, now for a quibble--service. Our waitress was fun and knowledgeable, but put the wrong plates in front of us for both courses. Water glasses didn't get filled til halfway through the meal. She put the bill on the table before we had finished dessert. None of these issues is a huge deal, but a little more attention to detail would elevate this place to a major player on the NH food scene. Make your reservations now--this place is going to be a hit.

            3 Replies
            1. re: whs
              kittychow Apr 16, 2007 06:47 AM

              Wonderful review. Sounds quite promising. Interesting to read that both chefs have worked locally at restaurants of note: Cotton and The Bedford Village Inn. I've had excellent meals at both. Sounds as if they understand well what kind of dining experience is missing in that area.

              When I visit I'll have to try the mussels. The coconut milk/lemon grass preparation is my favorite. What sort of bread accompaniment was it served with?

              1. re: kittychow
                whs Apr 16, 2007 09:25 AM

                We met the owners/chefs on our way out--they're enthusiastic and knowledgeable about the local food scene. The bread is baked on premises--they served mini-baguettes--quite tasty.

                1. re: kittychow
                  DFederschneider Apr 16, 2007 09:35 PM

                  Its a Grilled French Bread with Opal Basil Aioli

              2. u
                ummmfood May 14, 2007 09:51 AM

                i've been here for lunch twice and i hate to admit that i've had the american kobe beef burger both times. one as a special with mushrooms, carmelized onions, and gorgonzola cheese and one as it is normally on the menu. i would have to say that it's one of the best burgers i've ever had anywhere, especially the special one. i'm typically not a burger kinda guy but it is truly exceptional there. also had the mixed salad which was quite nice. i will definitely be going there again. it really does fill a hole in the manchester restaurant scene. i'd say that it fares comparably with cotton. i'm looking forward to trying dinner there. oh and i didn't find it to be too uptight, i was wearing business clothes once, but i also went in a t-shirt and dingy shorts once and didn't feel out of place (maybe that's just me).

                1. whs May 16, 2007 07:58 PM

                  Reviewed today (Wednesday) in the Union Leader

                  7 Replies
                  1. re: whs
                    LoriEllen May 17, 2007 09:56 AM

                    Maybe this restaurant is just popular now because it's new. Wait a little while and see if business is still kickin'.

                    1. re: LoriEllen
                      tdaloisio Nov 16, 2007 07:14 PM

                      Just got back from Z and I must say, the meal was very good. The service was excellent. I will definitely be heading back!

                      1. re: LoriEllen
                        PutneySwope Nov 17, 2007 10:09 PM

                        Ate there last month and found it less enjoyable and inspired than I did during the spring. One of the more annoying things they did was give one of my tablemates expensive bottled water without asking.

                        It will be a while until I think about going back there.

                        1. re: PutneySwope
                          rmsoul Nov 18, 2007 08:24 AM

                          I'm with you Swope. Had several great meals there when it first opened. Went recently and found the portions to be smaller and not as much attention to detail in presentation. Seems like they might have had a staff change too. Our server was not as knowlegable as in past visits.

                          1. re: rmsoul
                            ManchSam Nov 19, 2007 06:32 AM

                            I read Chowhound, but never post. I felt I had to add my two-cents here.

                            I ate at Z in the spring and enjoyed it very much. I ate there recently and was underwhelmed. I can not believe I paid $25 for a dish that had two scallops, two shrimp and four mussels. It made me angry. Someone at the table next to us had a pasta dish that was overcooked. Service was very poor. Dishes piled up on our table- the toys are annoying when there is little room. We waited a long time for drinks and at one point our server was actually behind the bar working. Overall, it was not a cheap night, and we left hungry and feeling not taken care of. I won't go back.

                            1. re: ManchSam
                              rmsoul Nov 19, 2007 12:08 PM

                              That's exactly how I felt. When they first opened I went several times with different people. The food was always spot on and the service was very good. Now it seems like there are not very experienced servers and maybe some changes in the kitchen as well. Probably will not return. Too bad because they started off soooo good.

                              1. re: rmsoul
                                AbeFroman Jan 11, 2008 10:30 AM

                                Recent review by whs:


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