Catching Some Z

Trust us -- the food at Z is great. You just won't be able to see it.

Especially given the recent devastating news about the privatization of Fio's La Fourchette, it was good to see that Brennen is also a disciple of the soufflé, with a choice of the day offered as one of the standing desserts. The raspberry version we tried was fabulous, but even it paled in comparison to Brenner's exquisite variation on the overexposed crème brèlée. Rather than the traditional ramekin, the custard in this case was served naked on a plate, with the elegant extra touch of a layer of dried cherries underneath and a couple of fresh raspberries for ornamentation. Z also makes ice creams and sorbets in its kitchen, augmenting a cappuccino version of the former by serving it in an edible coffee cup fabricated out of dark bittersweet Godiva chocolate.

Eighteen red wines, 10 white and five sparkling are available, generally in the $15-$45 range, with maybe 10 of them also available by the glass. Service, once the meal got rolling, was prompt and, more important, knowledgeable, with the staff able to explain the intricacies of odd fish and elaborate saucings. One problem, though, came up when we ate at Z before a Blues game -- we'd clearly noted when reserving that we wanted to eat in time to get to the game, but when we showed up at the announced commencement of dinner service at 5 p.m., the kitchen wasn't cranking yet, and we didn't get started with our meal till almost 5:30. Given Z's relative proximity to both Grand Center and the downtown sports venues, this needs to be corrected quickly.

Atmosphere is a big deal at Z, and this atmosphere generates a level of energy you won't find in any other local restaurant.
Jennifer Silverberg
Atmosphere is a big deal at Z, and this atmosphere generates a level of energy you won't find in any other local restaurant.

Location Info

Map

Racquet Club of St. Louis

476 N. Kingshighway Blvd.
St. Louis, MO 63108

Category: Sports and Recreation

Region: St. Louis - Midtown

Truffles

9202 Clayton Road
Ladue, MO 63124

Category: Bars and Clubs

Region: Ladue

Details

314-241-5700. Hours: lunch at 11 a.m., dinner at 5 p.m., Tue.-Fri.; dinner at 5 p.m. Sat.; late-night menu until 1 a.m.

Duck confit $7.50
Barbecue king salmon $15.95
Escolar $17.50
Ahi tuna $17.50
Beef filet $17.95
Créme brûlée with dried cherries $5
Cappuccino ice cream in Godiva cup $5
Dessert soufflé $5.25

2005 Locust St.

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But most important: Let there be light! After wondering whether it was just me who was dim on an initial visit, I paid close attention to the lighting on a return visit, and, sure enough, the place went into near-blackout mode, on purpose, just a little bit into our meal. Thus, although the tastes and textures are spectacular, diners at Z are missing out on the pink-maroon translucence of a perfect ahi tuna, or the bright red of a beet emulsion, or the subtle variations in green in a fresh mesclun mixture. Rethink the lighting, guys. Everyone needs to see what a great job you're doing.

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