Friday, September 4, 2009


It all started with a reservation at the Chef’s Table at Zoë’s.

And that was the beginning of one of the better dining experiences that I have had at the beach. Zoë’s is located on 19th Street at the beach and I’m pleased to say that my expectations were greatly exceeded.

The restaurant is very cozy and comfortable. It contains a small bar area, main dining room and a private dining area for special events which would comfortably seat up to fifteen people. We were greeted at the door by the sommelier and co-owner and immediately seated at the Chef’s Table.

First of all, if you have the opportunity, reserve the Chef’s Table. This gives you a bird’s eye view of what is going on behind the velvet rope and you also get to take advantage of special tidbits, compliments of the chef:

These are Virginia figs, with maytag blue cheese and a lavender drizzle. Okay, I don’t know what all that means but aren’t they lovely? We had to just look at them for a while because we couldn’t get over the fact they were served on slate. Finally, curiosity was killing me so I tried one. The sharp flavor of the cheese combined with the sweetness of the fig was very good and like nothing I had ever experienced.

Secondly, since we visited Zoë’s on Tuesday night we were able to take advantage of their Tuesday special: half price wine night! We enjoyed the 2005 Franciscan Cabernet. Honestly, Cabernet isn’t usually my first red wine choice. I usually lean toward Shiraz, but after tasting the Cab it made me rethink that notion. It was big and full of flavor but the alcohol was not overpowering.

Zoë’s menu is filled with interesting kitchen creations and everything is a la carte but there is an option called the “Chef’s Tasting Menu” which allows you to choose three, four or seven items (appetizer, salad, entrée, dessert or any combination) for one price.

I began the meal with the spinach and tomato stack topped with fried goat cheese

colorful and delicious. The tomatoes were not refrigerated so I especially loved it. I also had the drunken mussels

Not sure what made them drunk but the taste was very good.

We also ordered the shrimp tempura

which was served with a sweet and spicy cocktail sauce.

Zoë’s offers a variety of steaks

this is the six ounce center cut filet mignon. The chef prepared a perfectly cooked medium steak that was incredibly tender, juicy and flavorful. A steak with so much flavor does not need anything else. But, Zoë’s serves a house sauce with the steaks which just brings out even more of the flavor.

For my entrée, I ordered the lemon tilefish served with stewed tomatoes and peppers and Sicilian potatoes

I had never had tilefish before and I wasn’t sure if I would like it. It has a strong texture, definitely not a wimpy fish, but the flavor was delicate and I loved it.

One of the signature dishes on the menu was the blue crab mac-n-cheese. We couldn’t leave without trying it

I didn’t know macaroni and cheese could taste so good.

We ended the evening with two desserts: the banana foster and the chocolate soufflé:

I know what you’re thinking, “She always says she’s not a dessert person, but she ends every review with a dessert, and this time there’s two!” First of all, those two desserts were split between four people and secondly … I guess I am a dessert person. But can you blame me? Look at these. I could not resist.

Zoë’s is a wonderful place for an elegant evening as long as you don’t mind paying for quality. Our server, Spencer was awesome. He was attentive and personable without being obnoxious. He made sure that we were well taken care of all evening. There is plenty of off-street parking, which is always a plus when going to the oceanfront. It was a great evening with good friends, good wine and good food. I’m looking forward to a second visit.

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