Well I seemed to have lost the opening paragraphs of my original piece, so i’ll pick it from here, a friend of ours on the way to Des Moines from Atlanta; he just closed on his house; took us out to dinner. Earlier this week we were speaking online and he informed us he was coming and suggested we find somewhere good to eat that had a fairly descent wine list. Being pauperised we didn’t have any immediate experience with such an establishment, but vic asked around the office and the unanimous recommendation was Zola.
Oh. My. God.
Great food, great service, fantastic ambience. But i’m getting ahead of myself, we arrived about 20 minutes early for 8pm reservation and expected to wait to be seat but even before we’d finished looking through their rather extensive wine list they were ready for us.
Our waitress was friendly, prompt, helpful and attentive, all without being cloying which is generally a hard act to balance. the restaurant was quite busy with most of the tables in our vicinity being filled almost as soon as they were vacated during our two and a half hours there.
the menu was simple with five starters, four salads, a soup and ten entrées that had a choice of vegetarian or pescetarians alternatives.
i chose an actual starter while vic and gluboski both chose salads, vic had the heat with beet; figs, cranberries, hazelnuts, bacon and bleu cheese on bed baby greens with breaded and deep fried beet slices, drizzled with a light vinaigrette, gluboski had the French Laundry salad which he lovingly described as a very upscale Waldorf salad, while I had Zola’s version of Beef Carpaccio.
In the midst of all this we managed to order a 1995 Montecillo Gran Reserva Rioja, which like everything else was excellent. For the main course Vic had the small order of Grandma Zola’s Paella
while I had the Herb Grilled Half Rack of Lamb and gluboski has the day’s special of Grilled Ahi Tuna. As we’d done with the appetisers, we allowed each other to sample the dishes, well except for me and the Paella which had shellfish and could kill me.
The food was beautifully presented and the portions were filling without being excessive. I have to say all the elements last night, the food, the company, the wine made for one of our best evenings out.