First time at a restaurant Zoe, and with a large party so that we could sample several things.
Probably best item overall was the big eye tuna sashimi WHITE MELON, BRIOCHE, PICKLED RAMPS, ORANGE REDUCTION, an incredibly delicate balance of tart, sweet and supple texture. The beef tongue FRENCH GREEN LENTILS, FRISEE, SOUR-CHERRY MUSTARD MARMALADE was also excellent (though i could not detect the marmalade). green bean salad with ARUGULA, BLEU CHEESE, CHERRY TOMATOES, OYSTER MUSHROOMS, PISTACHIOS was pedestrian, similar to salads i make at home with leftover blue cheese; perhaps a little less of the powerful cheese would have allowed the other flavors to come forward. Spicy octopus with blood orange was pleasantly unrestrained with its heat, but I preferred a quite similar dish I had not too long ago at Brasa.
lamb loin with BRAISED FENNEL, POTATOES, TOMATO CONFIT, TAPENADE,
BABY BEETS was awesome, the acidity of the beets and tomatoe balanced by the richness of the sauce and the anise sweetness of the fennel. The "whole hog" entree was deliciously described by the server but came out overly salty and a bit tough. Risotto with lemon was amazingly rich, almost too much so.
The wine list has an eclectic mix of high end and value wines. I like the quantity of french selections, which include more than one gigondas bottle (typically a restaurant value).
A very good meal from a talented kitchen. My wife likes Quinn's better but I disagree. What I would say is that the Zoe atmosphere is a bit casual to justify a high end splurge (the entrees are mostly $30 and up) but you can make a nice dinner of the small plates.
One slight service complaint was that the server refused to give my wife a wine glass despite her being obviously over 21, and the obvious legal age (and/or ID proof) of everyone else at the table. My wife had forgotten her wallet, and I understand the legal risks, but in reality, who comes to Zoe to get dangerously drunk underage with a party of eight over an expensive meal? While this refusal was the safe thing, it just prevented her from properly celebrating a promotion she received. I suppose the real culprit is our state and nation's puritanistic legal positions regarding alcohol.
p.s. forgive the all caps cut and paste from the online menu.
The server's ways seemed to belie an odd undercurrent of obsession with code, liability, etc at Zoe. We came in late and joined the rest of our party, and were carded almost immediately. When my wife explained that the ID was forgotten, and the server still insisted, we pushed the issue a bit, and the server's line was that "once the cat was out of the bag" (i.e. customer admits not having ID) there can be no exceptions. The server later spilled some water on the floor, no big deal, but she seemed hyper-cautious about slipping. Maybe they had a suit or government complaint lately.
Similar lack of common sense enforcement in Oregon.
I get it, but I don't agree with it.
Too bad for your wife.
Now why can't in such a situation there be one person on staff such as a manager that has taken some extra special class who could override a server/waitstaff on such an occassion? That seems like a nice balance to the iron clad law.
Thanks for the report, I look forward to making up to Seattle and going to Zoe!