Friday, May 3, 2013

Cincinnati Eats- Zula Restaurant

During our trip to Cincinnati last weekend, we knew that we wanted to go back to Local 127 after our first memorable meal there. But, I also love discovering new restaurants whenever we travel. So I did some research online, and stumbled upon Zula Restaurant and Wine Bar. Located on Race Street in Downtown Cincinnati, it is a modern and sleek restaurant that features their own bread products and a mussels bar. They also have a great wine list and a variety of craft beers. It sounded like just the place for us. The good news? It didn't disappoint.

The only thing that I immediately hated about the place, is that the tables are tightly squeezed into the space and getting around the dining room is near impossible. Please consider removing one two-top table! It would made such a difference. But, I did immediately love the long, high butcher block table for 12 that was placed in front of a work station, right smack in the center of the dining room. A cool twist on a chef's table. Now, on to the food...

They have several hot small plates and cold small plates. We ordered a crispy Risotto Cake to start.
They accidentally rang it up as an order of their daily risotto special. After seeing that dish arrive at our table first, maybe we should have stuck with that. This risotto cake was pretty bland, and very mushy in the center.

Luckily, that's where the food took a turn for the better. Next, we decided to share an order of the Funghi mussels with seasonal mushrooms, applewood smoked bacon, garlic and cream.
With nine options of mussels to choose from, picking just one was tough. But we loved this flavor profile, and I'd order them again!

A basket of their Artisan Bread is a must. There is too much delicious broth to let go to waste. Just beware, there is a charge.
It was worth every penny. Crusty and hard on the outside, but easy to pull apart, and soft and doughy in the center. It was the perfect vehicle for getting that broth once the mussels were gone.

They also have several options of artisan flatbreads on their menu. We went with the daily special, with included caramelized onions, bleu cheese, and walnuts.
It was as good as it looks. Our server also suggested leaving the mussels pot on the table to soak up some more broth with the crust...genius.

A wonderful Malbec rounded out this meal for me. I liked how their wine menu was separated into price points. I haven't seen this before.

This meal was the highlight of our dining during the trip, and I already look forward to a return visit. Why don't we have a mussels bar in Cleveland???

Zula Restaurant and Wine Bar
1400 Race Street
Cincinnati, OH 45202