Surrounded by 150 wineries, Zazu is an award-winning Wine Spectator roadhouse restaurant that prepares mostly Californian entrees, which are only ... More
Surrounded by 150 wineries, Zazu is an award-winning Wine Spectator roadhouse restaurant that prepares mostly Californian entrees, which are only enhanced by the in-house wine selections. Chef-owners John Stewart and Duskie Estes, who also run Bovolo, offer such tantalizing, seasonal selections as Alaskan halibut, red wine braised rabbit, ruby beet ravioli, flat iron steak, saffron and green olive braised lamb shank, and wild salmon; all prepared using the freshest ingredients.
OK - food good, but not great. Disappointing since the chef (Duskee ??) was on the Food Network's Next Iron Chef series. We live locally and had been to this place when previously owned. At that time it was noisy and busy. This time it was more empty, less noisy (of course) and the service was lacking in immediacy. We don't drink alcohol, so no worries there - but for what we ordered, it was overpriced. I'll stay in my hometown of Healdsburg and enjoy the many good choices from a new place called Mateo's - to Barndiva - to Charcutterie and Ravenous. Sorry to drop names, but if you are coming to wine country - you might as well know of some other options that will be more appealing than this.
What an awful experience! We were eager to try this place because of all the wonderful reviews it received, which now makes me really question their authenticity. From the time we walked in, it was nothing but a big disappointment. It took at least 15 minutes for our waitress to acknowledge our presence and it only got worse from that point on. The food was really disappointing, the wine by the glass very limited. Be sure to stay away from the chicken dish. It's a hot mess....literally. Let me translate all the fancy words in the description. The chicken is served atop crumbled grilled bread and cold greens. Who serves chicken with crumbled bread at an award-winning restaurant? The chicken we pick up at AJ's is a delicacy comparing to the dry, bland chicken we had here. We got so sick of waiting for our waitress who was too busy chatting and eating at the bar to check up on us that we chose to skip dessert. It was probably one of the worst experiences we've had in a while.
We were enthused about this restaurant on a recent trip to the wine country because of numerous positive reviews we had read (which, if you notice, were all posted quite some time ago). I'm not sure if things have just changed or what, but our experience was not pleasant. Once we were seated, we waited 30 minutes for a waitress to even acknowledge our presence. The moment before we were getting up to leave, someone finally came to the table. Throughout the night, we endured the slowest, most inefficient and inattentive service we have ever had (and noticed that the wait staff continued to head to the kitchen and drink wine and commiserate while we waited to have our water filled, or hang out at the bar and flirt with the bartender or patrons there.) The food was OK, but nearly impossible to enjoy given the poor service. The wine list was extremely overpriced for what was there, which is often the norm for this area, but there should be a glass available for less than $13.00, in my opinion. Overall, a big disappointment, and probably the worst dining experience we've had in the wine country. Maybe they were just having a bad night, but we won't be returning.
Zazu is a charming little restaurant that, according to one local, is a converted chicken coop(!). Not sure if that's true, but it certainly seems plausible.
The interior is rustic and warm, with a dinner bar up front and more tables toward the back. Beware, if there are large parties of people (bachelorette parties, drunk groups from wine tasting), it can get quite noisy and annoying. So, request a table toward the front for a quieter evening.
Service was great - they are really nice and attentive. Heirloom tomato appetizer was great. I had the flatiron steak which was a bit chewy in parts, but accoutrements were much better.
I think the experience would have been better had we had better dishes and it wasn't so noisy!
Starting off with a splendid selection of local cheeses and fruit, we continue on to a wine list surrounded by a creative cork cover! The entrees are always unique and delicious and nothing beats professional service at a restaurant that has quite the history at the corner of Willowside and Guerneville Roads. Did I mention the desserts! Chocolate fondue for two?!
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