ZED451: A Heart and Soul Harvest In Chicago
Whenever I go to an upscale restaurant, I usually try to figure out the justification for the price tag. In most cases, I can’t find one and I regret the meal. However, ZED451 fulfills every expectation I have of a fine dining establishment. More importantly, their passion completely justifies the price of entry.
Nowhere on ZED’s website will you find the words “Brazilian steakhouse” or “churrascaria,” but if you’ve read my Recipe4Living article on that type of restaurant you’ll immediately notice the similarities. Aside from unlimited eating, meat served tableside, and a salad area, the food itself is radically different.
The salad/soup/appetizer area is presented on a few curved tables in the center of the restaurant. There’s a good distance between every table, which was nice because I felt like I was burning the mountain of calories I was about to eat. These “harvest tables” present guests with seasonally inspired items such as roasted butternut squash, Brussels sprout Caesar salad, and deviled eggs made using a four-generation old recipe (see photo below). Various cheeses and cold meats also lined the tables.
Brazilian steakhouses serve grilled beef, grilled beef, and grilled beef with the occasional fish (to prevent a heart attack). Like I said, ZED takes a different (and more delicious) approach. During my dinner at ZED451, some of the things I dined on were orange glazed swordfish, candied Asian-style pork belly, perfectly seared duck breast, and Moroccan chicken (my absolute favorite; I’m desperately trying to get the recipe to post on Recipe4Living). There were also additional red meat selections such as leg of lamb, buttermilk ranch-marinated sirloin (see photo below), hanger steak with chimichurri sauce, and fire grilled ribeye. All cooked to perfection.
General Manager Jennifer Thompson explained that the chefs come in prior to dinner service and prepare every aspect of the menu from scratch. They break down the meats, prepare the soups and salads, and prepare the various sauces and accents for the meats. It shows.
The people serving you the meat in the chef’s selections actually make the food. They were personable, knowledgeable, and always explained what they were serving. I love the idea of having someone who cares not only prepare but serve me my food. It was almost like being over at a friend’s for a dinner party.
For dessert, I sampled a surprisingly light banana cream pie and a rich and decadent butterscotch bread pudding. By the end of my meal, my experience with ZED451 was in line with their goal: a nightly dinner party with friends. I got to sample various items, engage my waitress and servers in conversation, and feel right at home. I highly recommend a stop here if you’re in the Chicago area.
Who? anyone who enjoys food with heart and soul, even those with dietary restrictions
What? a seasonally inspired unlimited dining experience in the heart of Chicago
Where? 739 N. Clark Street Chicago, Il 60610
When? Monday-Thursday 4:30 pm – 10:00 pm; Fri-Sat 4:30 pm – 11:00 pm; Sat-Sun 10:00 am – 2:00 pm (brunch)
How much? $48 for full meal, $24 for harvest tables (drinks, dessert, and gratuity not included)