Good eats

Restaurant review: Zzest Cafe & Bar

October 9, 2016

Being a gluten-free/vegan couple, going out to eat can cause problems, especially in a town the size of Rochester. For once, Keith isn’t the problem, as many restaurants are aware of gluten allergies and have substitutions available. It’s now me who struggles to find something beyond fries at the majority of places.

We really enjoy going out to eat, but it’s gotten to the point where I know the one or two dishes I can eat at any given restaurant and I’ve eaten them all enough to be over it, for the most part. And I’ve griped a bit about the lack of vegan options available in this town, but until someone opens a vegan restaurant, I’m having to make do with what is here right now.

Last night, we tried Zzest Cafe & Bar. We were celebrating our two-year wedding anniversary and went for dinner with some wonderful friends. I called ahead earlier in the week to see if our diets could be accommodated, and we were not disappointed!

For starters, our server was incredibly knowledgeable. He immediately knew what was already gluten-free and what options could be made gluten-free. And while he was somewhat familiar with what could be made vegan, he went and grabbed the owner’s daughter, who works at the restaurant and is vegan. She shared a number of choices, and honestly, it was really hard to decide what to eat! Here’s a rundown of our dinner:

I started with their newly released winter cocktail (released just this week) and it was incredible! The base was port wine, and it was filled with fall spices and topped with mint leaves. Just like the server said, while the drink is served on ice, it will warm you up with its flavors, and it did not disappoint. One of the best cocktails I’ve had, hands down.

We had skordalia to start, a garlic potato white bean spread. Again, incredible, and they brought gluten-free crackers for Keith so he could have some too. I had the roasted cauliflower with no parmesan. Roasted with golden raisins and cornichons (which are tiny little pickles that are delicious), it was fabulous. I had a glass of white wine recommended by the server and, while I’m normally not a big white wine girl, it went so well with the roasted cauliflower, I’m glad I took his advice.

Keith had the flank steak and was very impressed. He is quite picky when it comes to steak, so they got a thumbs up from him. To finish the night, Keith had the dark chocolate sorbet and I had the pear riesling sorbet, which was bursting with pear flavor, a great finish to a great meal.

Final thoughts: We will definitely be going back to Zzest. It’s got great atmosphere, the food is delicious, and the knowledge and care of the servers really made for a fabulous dinner.

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