As promised, it’s time to tell you all about our fabulous dinner we had at the end of our Wine Road Barrel Tasting day up in wine country. Now, if you’re a regular reader you know that I don’t review restaurants very often but when they really blow me away, I feel it’s my foodie obligation to share…and Zazu Restaurant & Farm did just that!
How would I summarize the Zazu philosiphy? Nightly changing menus inspired by American classics, authentic, rustic Italian cuisine and focused on what is local (often their own farm!) and in season. Re-reading that sentence, makes Zazu sound a bit pretentious but in fact it’s quite the opposite their dishes and ambience are comfortable, uncomplicated and perfectly suited for the amazing wine that surrounds their location in every direction. Next time you’re up in Sonoma County give Zazu a try….they’re right off the 101 so a quick and easy detour on your way to or from the wineries, I promise you’ll be back a second and third time!
So why am I so enamored with Zazu (besides the fact that I am obsessed with Italian food, local/seasonal focus and all things pork…which you’ll soon hear about)? Their food is just simply off the charts….so let me walk you through what we had and you can decide for yourself:
We started with a house-made Gingered Salumi plate and a local Goat Cheese with grilled homemade bread (oops…ate the cheese up too fast and didn’t take a picture!). Both were divine and the perfect first bites after a long day of wine tasting. Next we had to try their take on a “Pork Bun” which had a great soft, spongy bun and a nicely spiced meat…but I have to say that this was my least favorite simply because I thought the pork was a over salted (which is rare for me, SavoryGirl, to say!). The cilantro and radishes helped cut down on the saltiness some but oh so close to a perfect dish. The warm brussel sprout salad, however, more than made up for the slight miss on the Pork Bun. Now warm brussel sprout salads are a dime a dozen in the Bay area…but this one was transcendent. The brussel sprouts crisp yet tender, a perfect note of sweetness from diced apple, contrasting crunch from almonds and oh the bacon! I seriously could eat this every day…we were fighting over the last bites.
Since we had quite a few starters, we shared an entree of homemade pasta with arugula and a pork sugo. Yuuuuuuummmmm! Since I make my own pasta all the time, I have a heightened appreciation for homemade pasta and this was so melt in your mouth soft yet still had the perfect al dente bite to it. And the arugula was a perfect accent to brighten up the rich pork sugo. We had to stop ourselves from picking up the bowl and drinking the little bit of sauce leftover!
We almost didn’t have room for dessert, but we smartly asked to see the menu just so we knew what we were missing…and quickly saw one calling to us that we just couldn’t pass up. A waffle with Cochon 555 winning house-made bacon in the batter and a scoop of homemade espresso gelato on top. Excuse me?! And would you believe this? It’s actually even better than it sounds! The waffle is oh so buttery, the espresso gelato symbolizing that perfect cup ‘o Joe…but the bacon. This bacon was so thick, smoky and subtly sweet that I asked if we could buy it and quickly learned, yes! And in fact the owners of Zazu have their own bacon business…Black Pig Meat Co. Rachel Ray loves it, Mario Batali loves it, Traci des Jardins loves it…holy hog how have i never heard of this place before?! Seriously if you’re a bacon lover like I am…check this bacon out.
And oh, by the way, when you go for dinner (because I know you will) get the side of bacon to go with your dinner that I sadly didn’t notice until after our transcendental dessert experience….yup a side of bacon with my entreé please, excellent.