City Of Big Shoulders Serves Big Appetites At Zed451

by Gil Melott SOURCE JA
Photo Credit: Lauren Aurigemma

If you often find yourself staring indecisively at menus because everything sounds good -- and you've got a hearty appetite -- or you're with a large group of people who all want something a little different then Zed451 in Chicago is the place for you.

At Zed451 for a set price ($49 per person) you get unlimited trips to the "Harvest Table," a trendy, creative and decisively unique take on the salad bar - with offerings such as roasted cauliflower with balsamic vinegar glaze, wine-poached pears topped with crumbled goat cheese, and homemade soups.

Then, head back to your table, where the main course comes to you: Chefs stroll throughout the restaurant, offering appetizer-sized portions of the day's specialties, which could be anything from New Zealand venison to Fire Grilled Ribeye to Citrus Wild Salmon. Try a little bit of everything, or keep requesting more helpings of something you particularly like. The restaurant itself is gorgeous. Think upscale ski lodge with all the modern tatses and comforts you want - soaring ceilings and sexy lighting; the extensive use of natural materials (from the stone pillars to the bar's rock garden) give this distinctly urban environment a warm, sultry vibe. If you're here in good weather, head to the rooftop deck for an after-dinner drink: The sparkling lights of the neighborhood high-rises make for a magical setting. As befits any cool downtown restaurant, the drink list has a good selection of specialty cocktails, many made with fresh juices -- totally in keeping with the Zed451's approachable luxury. From the business meeting, to the large group of friends to a private anniversary wine tasting this place caters to it all. And it is fast becoming a place for the locals on weekends.

The service is spot on, attentive and attuned to your personal pacing. For me and my guest, it was slow and steady. From an in charge General Manger to a creative young Exec Chef, Zed451 seems to have the right energy to build a solid business and a strong following... eat light all day so you can enjoy a great BIG meal.  

Photo by Brandi Wills

Photo by ShutterRunner