Warm and inviting. That is immediately what hits you as you walk into Zoe, a chic SoHo restaurant. You may think that it would be loud and difficult to maneuver due to it’s Prince Street location, Zoe is anything but.
Zoe been open since 1992, is owned and run by Stephen and Thalia Loffredo. Stephen Loffredo is a very strong, very involved presence in his eatery and it shows. I must say, it is always very nice to see a restaurant owner as a presence in their restaurant. It makes you feel as though they really have a vested interest in overseeing what is happening.
Spoon and I were meeting up with our dear friends the Salad Tongs for dinner. It is always a culinary adventure and feast when we pair up with them.
We arrived first and were shown to our table. So glad they didn’t make us wait for them to come before they sat us! We ordered iced tea – fresh, tasty, and bottomless. Our bus boy (more on him later) brought bread over – a huge basket with three very thin slices of bread and three very thin slices of foccacia. Certainly not what would be presented to a table for four people.
The down side of having dinner with the Salad Tongs is we want to eat EVERYTHING! We can never manage to order what’s on the Restaurant Week Menu without a lot of extras!
This trip was no exception! While deciding what to order from the Restaurant Week menu, we ordered the Pizza Prosciutto with Figs, Whipped Goat Cheese, and Caramelized Onions. We actually thought, “Hmm, maybe not, we won’t be able to eat everything else.” All I can say is HA! This may be the perfect pizza! Crispy crust, sweet figs and caramelized onions all balanced by the tang of the whipped goat cheese. There are 6 slices in this pie and there could have been a fight to the death for the last two slices…..
For starters Mr. Salad Tong had the Salmon Tartar with Ginger Lime Dressing and Taro Chips. I am not always a fan of raw fish, but this salmon was so fresh and such high quality, that eating it any way other than raw would have been sinful. The ginger lime dressing adding the perfect bite to the perfectly seasoned salmon. The added crunch factor from the taro chips was just an added bonus.
Mrs. Salad Tong also had the Grilled Scallops and Chorizo with a ParsleySauce. Perfectly grilled, plump scallops were coupled with grilled chiorizo. The chiorizo adding just the perfect spicy kick to this dish. The parsley sauce added a nice depth of flavor to this simple but very flavorful starter.
Spoon and Fork both had the Zoe Market Salad loaded with Summer Radish, ToyboxTomatoes and a White Balsamic Vinaigrette. I think we may be saladed out at this point. This salad had julienned radishes on top with grape tomatoes over a mesculin mix. The dressing was quite tasty. Unfortunately a salad is a salad and there really isn’t much to say.
Onto the entrees!
Mrs. Salad Tong had the Wood Grilled Mahi Mahi with Mizuna, Red Onion and Mango Vinaigrette. The mahi mahi was perfectly grilled, just slightly rare in the center. The mahi mahi was served over a wonderful salsa made with mango, mizuna and red onions with a light vinaigrette.
The rest of us had the Hanger Steak, served over green beans and potatoes with a wonderful balsamic reduction. Perfectly cooked, perfectly seasoned, very generous portion, does anything else need to be said?
During Restaurant Week we should tell the waiter as we walk in, ‘Please don’t let us see anything but the Restaurant Week menu!’ Of course the words Polenta Fries found our eyes. Spoon and Fork looking and the Salad Tongs, no one wanting to say…..should we order these…..I couldn’t help it! I had to have them! And they were just what we expected. Crispy on the outside, tender on the inside. The only problem? THE SAUCE! Not good, not good at all! Perhaps it was trying to be a remoulade, sadly it was more like mayonnaise and ketchup hurriedly mixed together.
My favorite part of Restaurant Week is that dessert is always included! I am always hoping that everyone orders something different so we can try everything! No such luck here!
Mr. Salad Tong and Fork order this incredible White Chocolate Pudding. The pudding was served in a juice glass – or what would be a large juice glass. In the middle of the pudding was a layer of pistachio cream. Thick and soft and oh so delicious! Floating on top of the second layer of white chocolate pudding was chocolate, cherries and candied pistachios. All my favorite sweet flavors in one glass! Packed quite a wallop!
Mrs. Salad Tong and Spoon each had a Peach and Apricot Tart with creamy custard and a scoop of Ice Wine sorbet on top. The plate was drizzled with honey. The tart shell was fantastic, so crispy and buttery. The custard creamy and rich. The fruit was just sweet enough. But the star of this dessert was the ice wine sorbet. It took a couple of spoonfuls to realize what it was, but it lent a tang and refreshing element to this custardy dessert. Great idea!
All in all, this was a great dining experience, far above what I expected it to be. I would definitely go back here again, Restaurant Week or not. If you’re in SoHo and need a great place to eat, this is it!
Well, wait……my only complaints are the bread basket, the dipping sauce for the polenta fries and OUR BUS BOY! He climbed behind the banquet to reach his arm in front of Mr. Salad Tong to take a small plate while he was still eating, he reached across the table in front of all of us while we were still eating to grab plates or glasses, and at one point he came to place (haha) something on the table and he practically threw it at us! Our server was fantastic, this guy, not so much!