Drawn in by the "now open" sign, the hubby and I headed into Zoes Kitchen for a weeknight dinner. A chain operating in the south-east, the location at the corner of Airport and Whitesburg is the first Huntsville location. (Another is slated to open off University).
The restaurant follows the popular fast-casual model--order at the counter, beer and wine available, your food is brought out to you. The Mediterranean influenced menu focuses on health conscious options, there is no mayonaise or fried food in sight. Instead there are gluten free and vegetarian options, a protein platter, wraps, sandwiches, rice, and veggies galore.
I ordered the steak kabobs, while my husband opted for the chicken. Our meals came with pre-set sides, veggies and potatoes with the steak and rice, salad and pita with the chicken. After placing our order, we filled our drinks at the fountain and selected a small booth. The restaurant was open and art from local school kids was displayed around the perimeter of the room. Piped music filled the open layout, but conversation was not overly difficult.
Our food came out in good time and we happily tucked in.
My beef kabobs were sweet and tangy, seasoned with garlic and herbs. The oil based sauce moistened the outside of the meat, keeping most of the flavor on the exterior. The meat was cooked (by default) to medium and the large pieces were a touch chewy. The onions were delightfully sharp and the peppers bursting with flavor.
The red potatoes were still firm and seasoned with lemon, oil, and pepper. The combination was light and fresh. The broccoli, carrot, and onion blend was seasoned similarly, with the addition of garlic. The vegetables were slightly undercooked and while the flavors were not bad, the fact that both the sides had such similar flavors was rather disappointing.
My husband was delighted with his dish (shown at the top of this post). He enthused about the moistness of the chicken, the combination of the spices and a bit of lemon juice, the freshness of the tomatoes, the just-right rice, and the tasty salad. The overall verdict? "Really good!". His pita was dense and chewy with a plain flavor.
Zoe's is a great spot for a laid back, light meal. Although the emphasis is on lighter fare, the portions are generous and both alcohol and dessert are available. The meat was flavorful but their seasoning repertoire seemed to begin and end with lemon and garlic. I'd like to see more differentiation between the dishes (especially the sides) but what they have is not bad. We'll likely be back to explore more of their menu.
Total for the meal: $26.20 (Includes two kabob plates and two fountain drinks)
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