Sunday, May 31, 2009


After a wonderful afternoon at the Imax watching Under the Sea 3D (which we highly recommend) followed by a bike trip up and down the canal, FLO was in the mood for something a little decadent. We decided to try Indy's only small-plate restaurant, Zing.

How small-plate differs from tapas, we aren't quite sure. But our waiter assured us there was, indeed a difference. It's the exact same idea.... small servings of tasty dishes meant to be ordered in bunches and shared. Heck, they even had 2-3 of the same dishes as Barcelona! Different my hat!

Since it was a gorgeous day, we decided to sit outside and enjoy the sun. Libby ordered up a yummy, if tart, pomegranate soda while Fred chose one of his favorites, a Robert The Bruce ale. It took us quite a while to decide on our entrees, but we settled on the special of the day(cheese grits with shrimp and a cajun butter sauce), bacon-wrapped dates stuffed with chorizo, warmed goat cheese with tomato sauce, and finally pork tenderloin wrapped in capocollo with a mustard ale sauce and a savory asparagus bread pudding.

Unlike Barcelona (wait!! did we actually find the difference?!?), Zing staggers their small-plates rather than bringing them all at once. First up was quite simply the star of the evening. Four bacon-wrapped medjool dates stuffed with chorizo served on a bed of chunky tomato sauce heavy on the roasted red pepper. The dates were so soft and sweet with a hint of spice from the chorizo and pork fat from the bacon. Yowza. Never would have put these tastes together, but we will from now on! On the way home, we both mentioned that next time we must order 2 servings.

Next came the warmed goat cheese with a bed of a completely different tomato sauce served with toasted garlic bread. This was another hit. Not to belittle this dish, but Barcelona serves essentially the same one with an even more succulent sauce. Be that as it may, Zing's version is very good and we would certainly order it again.

Our next entree was the cheese grits with shrimp and a cajun butter sauce. While we both felt the flavor was good, this dish needed some work. The shrimp and cajun butter were very good, but the consistency of the grits was much too thin. It was very hard to eat with a fork and no spoon was provided. We attempted to sop it up with the bread, but the two carbs together didn't really work right.

Finally the tenderloin arrived and again we felt it was a little off the mark. The capocollo worked very well with the tenderloin, which itself was cooked perfectly. The issue was with the sauce. It was missing the pow. There was pepper and dry mustard, but not enough to drive the flavor. It seemed like it was just begging for "Zing"! We felt that this dish could and should have been outstanding and perhaps we should order it again to see if the sauce was just not right tonight. On the other hand, the pairing of savory asparagus bread pudding was superb. The bread pudding with the sauce definitely worked and could have stood up as a dish on it's own.

For dessert, we were unsure if the small-plate serving size would apply. Therefore we ordered two. Well, next time perhaps one would be better. Oh darn! Libby decided on the almond cheesecake with fresh fruit and whipped cream. Fred was drawn to the 3 berry shortcake. Both would have been more than enough to share.

The cheesecake was sublime. Libby says, "Order it. It was good." and refuses to elaborate. (Libby turns into Ozzy when desserts are involved)

The 3-berry shortcake was also quite yummy. Our only suggestion would be to wait a few minutes after it's served before enjoying it. The shortcake needs the time to soak up the wonderful berry sauce and is very dry (by design) without it.


Wrap Up
Price-$$$, $7-12 per plate and you'll need 2-3 per person depending on the size of your party. But yummy little tidbits they are!
Atmosphere-***, A grown-up sophisticated interior and a more laid-back balcony seating.
Service-**-***, Although our server seemed to be nursing a hang-over, we observed another who was very careful to explain how small-plate menus work. Here in the midwest, this is definitely necessary as we observed two confused tables, one insisting they should be called apetizers.

Fred -B+, I feel like I should return and perhaps try the totally separate and extremely yummy-sounding lunch menu.
Libby -B+, The dates rock my world. And I look forward to trying some of the chef's other creations.
Ozzy -C- While he was totally welcomed outside, we would not have felt it appropriate for kids inside. Also there is no kids menu (not that we would expect one). If the patron has a child with an adventuresome palate, then go for it. Ozzy, instead, insisted on emptying every complimentary bread basket that was brought to the table. "That's mine!"

Zing on Urbanspoon

No comments: