St Pete Z-Grille
The Spousal Unit and I had lunch at the Z-Grille yesterday.
If you haven't been there, the restaurant is visually stunning. The whole front, street-side wall is floor to ceiling gleaming glass. The opposite wall is a sleek surface of warm-colored polished, bent-wood. The bent wood wall incorporates a banquette of bentwood. The tables are stainless steel topped. Every detail is harmonious with the modern but warm, ultra-sleek, ultra-chic feeling invoked.
Service was competent, congenial and prompt.
We tried the "California" deviled egg appetizer. The eggs were delicious and nicely presented on a glass plate with a leaf of frilly and crisp red leaf lettuce. At $4.00 for three egg halves, it did seem a bit dear.
Onion rings were ordered to go with out mains but came out with the eggs. This was only a minor service bobble, IMO. The onion rings were golden, hot and crisp. They were served with a mild horseradish dill dip. They were very good, but at $5.00, the portion was fairly modest.
The SU ordered the "Cali" burger - avocado makes something "California," I guess. It came with the "seasonal potato salad." I had the duck breast salad. The salad is described as "Maple Leaf Farms duck / baby red leaf & herb lettuce / sesame vinaigrette." The salad was gorgeous - crispy duck cooked medium rare as ordered atop frilly leaves of red lettuce with a julienne of carrot and red onion. My only complaint would be that the "baby" red leaf lettuce leaves were HUGE making the salad very unwieldy to eat. I have some odd aversion to taking a knife to my salad.
I had an iced tea and my SU had a soft drink to round out the meal. Total wallet damage came to $38 and change plus tip.
I came away from the meal asking my SU this: "The place is nice, the service is good and the food was good. So why didn't I like it?"
"This is a 'Place To Be Seen,' " was the SU's answer. I think he was right; it's just not our kind of place. Today, for the same price, we had a very different lunch in a very different place that was absolutely satisfying on many levels, but I'll save that for another post.
I had two other friends mention it to me. Has it been open long ... I had 1 good and 1 bad review. No specifics, maybe over priced and just not a comfortable setting for them.
At the restaurant where I was co-owner/partner we did a dish where we served phyllo made into small cones. Then stuffed with seasonal (crab, lobster or shrimp ... usually shrimp with a light creamy sauce, some jicama, , cucumber, carrots and minced scallions in a light dill and honey sauce with fresh lime. This was stuffed in the small ice cream cones and you got three on a plate over baby greens in a light vinaigrette with fresh mango and avacado slices. 12.00, but it easily fed 3 people. It was very hearty even for a starter. $5 for onion rings, seemed much. But maybe I just don't eat out much. We served a healthy serving of fries with a great spicy mayo on the side of our burger for $8.
A lot I think is just location. Every city is different. Restaurant nowadays is hard too with the economy. Seems expensive but maybe I just don't get out enough :)
I could make a pretty damn good dinner for 38.00 dollars. I just have a hard time justifying it at times. I did a beautiful seared shrimp, some roasted stuffed tomatoes, some grilled polenta with a chili oil and avacado puree and a roasted mushroom over baguette with gruyere and arugula as an appetizer. About 40 dollars, and included a great white sangria for the same price as lunch.
I may have to try it. I'm heading up there this weekend with a friend.
DH and I talked about how expensive that location must be downtown. I don't eat many $38 lunches either. Can I spend that much for lunch? Yes, from time to time I can, but, why do it? To justify that much for lunch I have to enjoy it exceptionally or be wowed in some way.
We did have an equally expensive lunch today. I have a few days off and we are treating ourselves to a little mini-vacation without leaving town. Today's lunch was a different experience, and completely satisfying for reasons I'm not sure I understand completely.
I totally understand, some places rather it is atmosphere, clientele or just the total experience makes it enjoyable. I know what you mean completely. And it is fun to treat yourselfs now and then. Me ... I love a low key type of place. One of the best meals I went was this 4* restaurant in Kohler Wisconsin. Very Elite at the country club, but the atmosphere was very relaxing and so was the setting. Even though you couldn't get much better food, I guess that it was so unique and even the simplist of foods were so unique.
Well if I go to Z I will let you know.
Went a couple of weeks ago for lunch with a friend.
I am on a strict budget, ordered the "mini wedge" and she got a burger. I think my salad was $9. I have had a better one at Capital Grille for the same price. What makes a wedge great is the bacon quality and the cheese. Both were just regular, whereas the Capital Grille bacon I can STILL remember, and oh the service was quite special. My friend enjoyed her burger, did comment about the small portion of potato salad.
I did not find Z Grille "modern but warm" - I love modern decor, but it is a challenge to make it warm. Like your aversion to eating a salad with a knife, I have an aversion to - plastic molded chairs! LOL Anyway, found the place to be antiseptic cold, but the service was friendly and efficient. Perhaps because we went at 1:30 and the place was nearly empty, it felt colder than it should?
I would like to go back after dark, to see if the atmosphere is improved...but will have to save up a bit first!
P.S. BeaN I love your reviews (spousal unit indeed LOL)! You've got me curious about that other place you mentioned, keep 'em coming!
Food is good, service has never been good, and attitude is horrible. These things haven't changed over the years.
I live near downtown, and have been to Z several times. It's one of my favorites, but it's definitely not a good choice for a cheap meal! I can't speak to what you ordered - I've only been for lunch once, and we just ordered several apps for the table. The Dr. Pepper ribs are one of my favorites! I might have a strange attitude towards dining out - I choose to only eat out when I canI order whatever I want without feeling guilty about it. I'm not sure how I would evaluate their menu from a "value" standpoint - I think the appetizer route is probably the way to go there if you're trying to have a more economical meal. I like the decor but I don't think it's necessary, and it probably adds to the price point on the menu. It's definitely a "see and be seen" type of place, especially on the weekend, which is a negative in my book. I just really like the food!