Zest Bar & Grill
Taps: 12 / Bottles:
Cask: N / Beer-to-Go: N
Ratings: 1 | Reviews: 1 | Display Reviews Only:
4.03/5 rDev 0%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | food: 3.5 | $$
We visited on a breezy, balmy Sunday afternoon in spring, and the place was still on the quiet side.
It's not really a big restaurant, but Zest has a spacious sense of place about it. Interior is a combination of warm earth tones, some re-purposed antiques, a little brass and gleaming stainless, and plenty of natural light. As it opened very recently there's a touch of "showroom new" here, and I doubt very much that vines have grown on the trellis (nice patio, as well).
The setting itself might strike some as inauspicious, given its location in a small, almost-forgettable strip mall. And yet the rolling hills of Eagan provide a rural feel, and the liquor store two doors down has a Surly sign in the window... Calling it "a nexus of pastoral and cutting edge" might be pushing my poetic license, but so be it ; )
We hadn't specifically intended to do so, but our visit today coincided with their daily Happy Hour*, so appetizers and pints were a friendly price indeed: virtually half-off appetizers, and 10 of their 11 Craft and specialty taps at $3 per pint.
The menu is a varied affair, with a mix of familiar comfort foods and sports-bar favorites alongside some outliers of ethnic cuisine. We split a couple of appetizers; a simple-yet-flavorful Apple Bruschetta, and "Minnesota Egg Rolls" (the latter could be a new staple in fast-casual in the metro area : )
Tap selection is focused on Craft and seasonal rotation, with 'Nastro Azurro' being the sole Macro selection on tap. I celebrated my 10,000th pint of Bell's Two Hearted, while my companions enjoyed Brau Brothers and New Belgium seasonal offerings, respectively. Our waitress regaled us with the story behind Lucette, and the owner/bar manager offered samples of each of the tap offerings in turn, so I must say the service aspect was well above-average.
I'm not a sports fan, but those who are will be happy to find plenty of unobstructed views of hi-definition Gopher hockey (and Nascar?), and whatever the 'big show' of the day is. A little light mood music in the background, quiet enough that indoor voices worked perfectly for conversation. Our server was prompt and observant, remembering our waters in-between rounds, and was also keen to observe the citrus-fruit aspect of a witbier, and ask whether it was a desired garnish during our second round of pints!
As we were finishing our pints the place started to come to life, with the first of the evening's dinnertime crowd arriving. From the looks of it (and from what I've been hearing for a while now) there's been a real desire for a place exactly like this in the southern suburbs of the Twin Cities.
With the proper focus in place --and plenty of planning-- Zest has become a trend-setter.
*Note: The Happy Hour is a seven day affair from 3-6. There's also a late night happy hour, and live music on occasion (although not during our visit).
03-26-2012 16:44:50 | More by Chaz
Zest Bar & Grill in Eagan, MN
- out of 100 based on 1 ratings.