Zeal restaurant in East Cobb has had a bit of a rough start since opening. Now with a revised menu, new chef and owner, they’ve had a chance to sort out some of their hiccups and start anew. Zeal invited some of the Association of Food Bloggers in for a menu tasting.
To start, I was pretty impressed by their cocktails. Normally, I would dismiss a cocktail menu for a restaurant in the burbs, but the two I sampled were quite good. The Moscow Mule, served in copper mugs, was refreshing and lighter on the booze than the second, the East Cobb Harvest, another vodka based cocktail with basil and cucumber.
Not a cocktail drinker? Not to worry. Zeal has an extensive wine and beer list as well. They gave us a bottle of white and red for the table that were lovely. They aren’t on the menu anymore, but they do a good job of offering quality wines both by the glass and the bottle.
We had a trio of appetizers to begin our meal: Fried Green Tomatoes, Duck Poutine and Chicken Lollipops. The large fried tomatoes seemed to be quite popular at our table, but they were my least favorite, the coating falling off as soon as they were cut into, the taste was nothing special. I was surprised to enjoy the Chicken Lollipops so much. Crispy on the outside and nice and juicy on the inside, I could have eaten them without the Mango Chili sauce.
Lastly, the Duck Poutine was just glorious. Duck confit, gravy, Mozzarella, and fries? What’s not to love? This could easily work as an entree, and you might wish you had ordered your own once you have a bite or two.
For mains, Zeal divides their menu into both Entrees and what they refer to as “Share Plates.” These are smaller than the entree size portions but work well as an meal if you had a couple appetizers. One of these, the Pistachio Crusted Lamb Loin, the chef’s favorite menu item, was the most artfully presented dish and a hit at our table. It comes on a be of pearl cous cous with a beat puree.
Our table then sampled entrees which included and Airline Chicken Breast, Kansas City Steak and Red Snapper. Though I rarely ever order chicken at a restaurant (it seems so unexciting), this was nicely done and it is good to note this entree is Gluten Free. The steak, the most ordered entree for our table, was prepared to everyone’s liking (mine a delicious medium) and the charcoal flavoring was obvious yet the steak was still tender and juicy. However, the best entree to hit the table was the Snapper. Topped with Seaweed Salad, it was lightly fried and served over bok choy. The sauce, a Wasabi Vinaigrette was a subtle addition, but really added to the overall flavor.
Desserts at Zeal seem to be hit or miss. The desserts in a jar trio was bland (key lime), mediocre (chocolate) and terrific (strawberry). The cheesecake was average, but nothing our of the ordinary. However, the blueberry cake was phenomenal. I’d go back to Zeal for that dessert alone.
While I wouldn’t categorize Zeal as a destination restaurant, it is one of the nicer fine dining restaurants in East Cobb.
Disclosure: Our meal was complimentary, but the opinions expressed are my own.