Zed's surprised the heck out of me!

Whew, what a week! I know I said that in my last post, but seriously, it’s been QUITE a week. I forgot how draining school could be on both my mind and body. I was so excited when Friday finally rolled around, not only because it was the end of a busy week, but because my friend and I had a lunch date at Zed’s in North Austin.

My only previous exposure to Zed’s was a single visit to their website that teased me with the restaurant’s contemporary design, a sampling of great-looking food and a promise of live music. Sounded good, and while I really didn’t know what to expect, I knew I was in for some yummy “American fare with Austin-inspired preparation."

When I pulled up into the Tech Ridge shopping area, I certainly wasn’t expecting what stood before me. The structure is beautiful and ultra modern. The lines are clean and the colors are crisp. My favorite part of the restaurant’s building itself is the waterfall. Yep, there’s a beautiful waterfall pouring off the roof and into a clear Koi and lily pond. Obsessed. It’s the little things that make me smile, a lot. This is one of those little things.

I was a little bit late in getting to Zed’s, so I found my friend waiting for me in the lounge area when I arrived. After a hug and some babbling apologies on my part, we were taken to our table in the airy and inviting dining area. The view was beautiful! Who would think there’d be a view in a Tech Ridge shopping center? Not me, that’s for sure. The restaurant looks out onto an amazing, expansive patio. And beyond that, there’s a small stream flowing under a bridge.

I’d only been at the restaurant for a mere ten minutes, and already I’d been pleasantly surprised a few times. Awesome.

The lunch menu featured mostly, well, lunchey-type things, such as sandwiches, salads and soups. There were a couple more hefty entrée items that sounded appetizing, like the grilled chicken, grilled chicken breast, caramelized onions, sautéed mushrooms, spinach, poblano cream, whipped potatoes and roasted veggies, but as many of you know, I adore sandwiches. My favorite food? Sandwiches. I was clearly going to get a sandwich. But what kind?

There were so many yummy, locally sourced options to pick from, but one of the last sandwiches options on the bottom of the list stood out from the rest: The Big Pig.  The Big Pig is comprised of BBQ chopped pork, coleslaw and jalapeños, all piled up on a homemade bun. Yes please!

My friend opted for the Waterfall salad with grilled chicken. The salad is aptly named for the coolest restaurant waterfall ever. Basically it’s spring greens, candied pecans, tomato, tortilla strips, apples, and honey citrus vinaigrette – pretty, and based on the quickly-emptied plate, pretty darned delicious.

But first things first, guys. I came to this meal starving my buns off. I went ahead and ordered us the Bang Bang Shrimp appetizer (shrimp fried in the Chef’s secret sauce over coleslaw) and also some rolls with honey-butter.

The rolls came out first, steaming hot and deliciously golden brown. They SMELLED amazing; nothing compares to the aroma of freshly-baked bread. They tasted even better than they smelled, if that was even possible. They were both sweet and warm;  they tasted all cozy and happy. Yum.

The Bang Bang Shrimp made its appearance after some conversation and the decimation of a roll. Man oh man. This was a pretty dish. It came with a generous portion of super large and ultra succulent shrimp draped on a mound of beautiful, creamy and colorful slaw. I dug right in, and snagged three of the 7 juicy shrimp for myself. Fast hands!

The shrimp was wonderfully tender, moist but firm. It had been a long time since I’d had awesomely succulent, crispy yet light seafood. The time, apparently had come for me to experience it again. The shrimp was cooked in a remarkable sauce that carried deep notes of sesame in with the bright spices and slight sweetness.  The meat popped with juicy sweetness and each bite made my eyes roll back in my head with satisfaction. Yum.

A short while after we polished off all but one shrimp, our main dishes were set in front of us.  My jaw ACTUALLY dropped. Not, “oh that was jaw-dropping good,” but instead, it ACTUALLY dropped open and my eyes exploded from my head. This was the most stunningly attractive BBQ sandwich I’d ever seen in my whole life.

The pork glistened in the sunlight that poured through the expansive plate-glass windows, and the accompanying aromas were equally bright. The meat was cut into large chunks, rather than the familiar pulled prep, which I appreciated. The meat to sauce ratio was perfect for me. The bread was airy and warm, golden and lightly toasted. Unbeknownst to me, the sandwich came with thin-cut fries (YES!!!) and some wilted spinach.

After my first bite, I could tell you that beauty wasn’t the only thing The Big Pig had going for it. The Zed’s chef didn’t skimp on flavor in this baby, that’s for sure. I was sucker punched in the mouth with its big, bold flavors. The pig meat was smoky and earthy. The sauce was spicy and warm, with a touch of sweetness.

The bread was soft and chewy. The slaw, oh the slaw. It was the same slaw that served as a pedestal for the Bang Bang Shrimp. It was cool and creamy, full of exciting textures, including apple! Mmm… The slaw became that counterpart to the meat, making the whole sandwich a texture and flavor party.

My friend’s waterfall salad was beautiful, and enormous. The chicken was golden and looked really juicy. She and I both loved our dishes, and had a really great time at Zed’s. I know I can’t wait to get back out to Tech Ridge and see what a dinner service is like there. I saw they have a roasted duck that makes my mouth water on impact with reading the description.
They also have salmon and grits. To the normal person, this may sound weird. But being part of the family I am, salmon, toast and grits was a breakfast staple growing up. I almost laughed out loud when I read that dish was part of the dinner menu. There’s so much to choose from!!!

If you haven’t made it up to Zed’s before, it’s high time you did. If you HAVE been to Zed’s and had your own experience, let me know what you thought! And then go back! Have another!

Want to go?
501 Canyon Ridge Drive
Austin, Texas 78753

When can you go?
Closed Mondays
Sun, Tue, Wed: 11am - 10pm
Thurs-Sat: 11am -11pm         
Bar Thurs-Sat: 11am-12am; 12-7pm Saturdays and Sundays
Happy Hour:3-7p Tues-Fri; 9-11pm Thurs;
Brunch: 11am-3pm Sunday

Give them a call!
512-339-ZEDS (9337)

1 comment:

  1. Since I just had my kitchen remodeled a few days ago, I decided I'll get back to cooking by making a decent waterfall salad and a chicken sandwich. But I will still visit this place.


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