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He Said, She Said: Zelko Bistro

He Said, She Said: Zelko Bistro
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Time for another He Said, She Said for Carrie and me. Here’s how it works:
* We went to the same Houston-area restaurant at different times.
* It’s our first time eating at the restaurant.
* We read no previous reviews.
* Carrie wrote the review, and I react.

Atmosphere (4) The interior of Zelko Bistro immediately puts you in a calm, happy place. Bright and airy, the décor is simple with dark tables and banquettes contrasting with the light walls. Much of the interior is recycled or refurbished, including the bar and light fixtures. My only complaint was that the quaint interior resulted in tables that were VERY close together, as in 4 inches between our table and that of the neighbor to my left. Luckily, she was wearing some nice perfume! There is a nice patio area with 4 or 5 tables outside which allows for more elbow room.
The React: (4) Completely agree with everything Carrie wrote. Beautiful interior, but the tables are so close together. There was quite a wait when we went, so we sat outside in the covered patio area–well spaced tables.

Menu Selection (4) While Zelko Bistro may not have the lengthiest menu, it touts a variety of local, sustainable offerings. The single-page dinner menu offered a variety of salads, a couple of sandwiches, and 11 entrees (plus 2 off menu options), ranging from meatloaf to fish tacos to short ribs braised in Saint Arnold’s root beer. All sounded delicious. And the dessert menu? The 7 decadent sounding treats (OK…5 sounded decadent, but that’s only because I don’t really believe that macerated fruit or a cheese plate count as dessert) made it difficult for us to choose just two!
The React (4) Again, she’s dead on. Zelko didn’t have the biggest of menus, but they did have a nice variety. We went for brunch/lunch. I had fish tacos, Sara had the fried chicken, and Natalie got the potato soup. Pretty good variety.

Pricing (3.5) Entrees from $12 to $16, with the ribeye costing $22. Desserts were $6. Our meal of a shared two entrees, two desserts and two glasses of wine came to $65 with gratuity. I would normally give this a much higher rating for pricing, but the portion size was rather small. My husband’s crab cake was just that…A, as in 1, crab cake. No sides…unless you’re counting the one piece of frissee under it. Other entrees looked like they came with starch and veggies; however, I would suggest ordering a starter or salad with your entrée.
The React (3.5) Sorry, no controversy here…I agree with her again. Listen, were the prices high? Yes. But, given the area of town, quality of food, and trendiness of it all, you gotta expect this. My fish tacos were $12. Way overpriced, but I get it.

Taste (4.5) The delicious meal just left us wanting more! Even the bread to begin the meal was delish…bits of herby, grated-cheese covered goodness. I ordered the shrimp and grits and as mentioned, Warren had the crab cake. Both were scrumptious! The four shrimp were well cooked and seasoned. Maybe a bit on the salty side, but I’m a salt lover, so they were right up my alley. I’ve never been a fan of grits, but thought I should try this dish, and am I glad I did! The cheesy grits were creamy with bits of bacon and surrounded by a sweet soy sauce that mixed with the grits perfectly. The crab cake was very, well, crabby, with very little filler. And, again, the sauces – a sweet soy and a spicy Thai chili – were perfect accompaniments. Since we were not exactly stuffed, we shared the lemon icebox cake and the strawberry cream cake. Yum and yum!
The React (3.5) FINALLY! We disagree. My tacos looked beautiful, but unfortunately, were just way too salty. The pineapple salsa on top was a nice touch, but not enough to distract me from the salty tilapia. Sara’s fried chicken was excellent, and the potato soup probably was the most well-executed dish on the table.

Service (5) Our waiter was extremely knowledgeable. In addition to detailed descriptions of the dishes, he provided recommendations for both food and wine. The attentive staff also ensured that a glass was never in need of water and that an empty plate never sat in front of a diner.
The React (4) As mentioned, we were outside, actually the only people in the areas. At times, we were forgotten about. But, all and all, the service was solid.

Overall Opinion (4.5) This very “Height-sy” restaurant serves great food in a beautiful atmosphere. And, you’ve got to love supporting a restaurant that is doing it’s part to support the community. We will definitely be going back, but will surely be ordering an appetizer or two!
The React (4) My dish really disappointed, but not enough for me to trash this place. I was very excited about my first visit to this very popular Houston restaurant, but in the end…I just ordered wrong. The next time around, I will definitely get the shrimp and grits. If you’re looking for good fish tacos, please go across the street to Berryhill’s.

http://www.zelkobistro.com/