Tuesday, January 4, 2011
Zed 451 – A Modern Take on a Brazilian Steakhouse
Zed 451 – 201 Plaza Real, Boca Raton FL 33432
Part of the fun of being on vacation in Florida is getting to come back to our staple restaurants, but to try new ones as well. A newbie that we tried out this time around was a modern Brazilian-style steakhouse called Zed451, located in the ritzy shopping center called Mizner Park.
A large, dimly lit, serene atmosphere welcomed us, which didn’t much surprise me. Its stylish, minimalistic space fit in well with its other Mizner Park neighbors, which all veer on the side of elegant, understated and trendy. I immediately got a good feeling when I walked in, and curiously peeked at the impressive wine cellar room that was glassed in by large floor to ceiling windows—free for everyone to admire its extensive selection.
Overall, the space is separated into various dining rooms, breaking its large interior up and making the restaurant seem more intimate. There are plenty of large tables for groups but also a couple of smaller ones for couples. A salad, soup, bread and charcuterie area is located in the far back of the restaurant, available for all diners to take advantage of if choosing the Zed Experience.
You’re confronted with 2 choices when you come to Zed – the all-you-can-eat Zed Experience, which comes with bottomless salad bar selections and passed meats, seafood and poultry, or you can choose to eat a la carte. To no one’s surprise, we went with the former - after all, what’s the point of coming to a Brazilian Steakhouse without trying everything?
Salad Bar – One of the most extensive salad bars I’ve seen at a Brazilian Steakhouse, this one had it all – market soups, a charcuterie table, artisan cheeses, house-made breads, gourmet butters and spreads, various vegetable and fruit salads and other prepared specialties.
I went back twice to refill my plate with all sorts of goodies, but the items that stood out to me were the tomato soup, the beet salad, a plum salad with a red wine reduction, and a fuji apple salad with blue cheese and candied pecans.
The soup in particular was hearty and thick with a hint of fiery spice. I liked that the soup station had a fixins bar where you can add extra cheese and chives to the soup, which I did. In terms of a veggie course, the beet salad was an excellent choice, combining both red and yellow beets – one was sweeter than the next and soaked in a tangy vinaigrette, further embellished with goat cheese and crunchy pistachios.
The fruit salads were also excellent, the plum being sweeter although a tad on the crunchy side, which was great. A red wine reduction gave it some thickness and a lovely syrupy quality with an almost dessert-like taste. On a similar note, but quite different in taste, the fuji apple salad was more zesty and clean-tasting with a tinge of richness from crumbles of blue cheese and added crunch from candied pecans. Yum!
Passed Meats, Seafood and Poultry – This is where our dinner got really interesting, as servers came around with large hunks of meat, seafood and skewers of poultry, carving them on to our plates and coming back as many times as we asked them to. Ahhh…that’s the life…
My favorite proteins included the char-grilled buttermilk sirloin, rotisserie beef roast, Moroccan chicken and the Linguica pork sausage.
The sirloin was deliciously juicy and tangy, marinated in a buttermilk ranch dressing that gave it tons of flavor to the point that it didn’t need any sort of dipping sauce. The rotisserie beef roast was essentially a brisket, which had an earthy rosemary seasoning in the form of a dry rub. I loved biting into this delicious cut of meat that separated fiber by fiber, lacking any sort of guminess.
Non red meat options included the Moroccan chicken, which was marinated in a sweet/spicy concoction of honey, cinnamon and chili powder. The latter ingredient certainly kicked up the spice but in such a way that I couldn’t wait for the second round to make its way on to my plate. The other non-meat choice, the Portuguese Linguica sausage was also spicy, injected with cayenne pepper and then fire grilled – a perfect choice for a diehard pork fan.
Service and Cost:
While our server was pleasant and easy going, he lost our drinks order, delivering them about a long half hour after ordering. Instead of giving them to us on the house, which I think he should have done, he apologized but was then on his way.
Our meat servers however were excellent and even struck up a conversation, one of them explaining that in addition to serving the meat, he also prepares it. I thought this aspect was super cool and I looked at these guys with a new-found respect.
Costs are expensive but definitely worth it for a quality treat and an unforgettable meal. We had a 50% coupon off the entire bill (excluding alcoholic drinks) that we found in a local newspaper. The coupon is good until 2/28, so if you come across it you can still use it.
The Zed Experience - $44/person
A la Carte - $8 - $31
Sides - $5 - $8