Review: Z Food & Drink, Manchester, NH

by Michele Pesula Kuegler | March 25th, 2009 | Restaurant Reviews

With the kids having plans for Friday evening, my husband and I had a couple z-logo_transparenthours to ourselves.  After a busy week of work, we decided that dinner at a restaurant would be a great way to spend those hours.  Although we have an assortment of favorite restaurants, we chose to dine somewhere different.  Having enjoyed lunch at Z Food & Drink with a friend a few months ago, I suggested we try it for our dinner.  We were not disappointed.

Arriving at the restaurant around 7:00, half of the tables were filled, and we were seated promptly.  Given dinner and wine menus, we perused our cocktail menus, seeking unique beverages.  Our waitress, Jennifer, introduced herself and took our drink order.  Within minutes our drinks were delivered.  My drink, Be Pre-Peared, made with pear brandy, macerated pears, and a bitters-soaked sugar cube was topped with Zardetto prosecco at the table.  My husband’s drink, Hendrick’s Experience, a combination of Hendrick’s cucumber scented gin, a splash of lime, rosewater, and cucumber noodle garnish had tonic added while we watched.  The cocktails were delicious and a great start to our dining experience.

While we sipped our drinks, we contemplated our food choices.  As I reviewed my choices, I realized that I wasn’t really in the mood for meat.  However, many of the side dishes looked appealing, and there was a daily vegetarian special about which I could inquire.  When Jennifer appeared, she informed me that there was no daily special, but the chef would create whatever vegetarian dish sounded pleasing to me.  Utilizing that great option, I ordered side dishes from a different meal:  sweet and sour red cabbage, brandied currants,  and creamy polenta.  She asked with what I would like to replace the meat and if I had preferences in regards to tofu.  I told her to have the chef make whatever he thought would be best.

After my complicated dinner request was made, we finished ordering.  My husband ordered the Veal Stroganoff. Both of us opted to start our meal with Romaine Hearts salads.  My husband also ordered a bowl of the Fish Chowder.

Jennifer was an attentive waitress, delivering a basket of bread, oil, and butter shortly after our order was placed.  My husband’s chowder arrived in no time.  Filled with plenty of fresh haddock and potatoes and topped with fried onions, it was tasty, though the cream seemed to be a little sparse.

The timing continued to be impeccable at Z.  Soon after the chowder was finished, our salads were delivered.  I had requested no anchovies and dressing on the side.  As I like my salad fairly dry, it is important that the lettuce be very fresh, which mine was.  Topped with crispy capers and lemon confit, it was delicious.  The salad was garnished with grilled ciabatta.  Mine was lackluster, but my husband found his to be very enjoyable as the anchovies are served atop the ciabatta.

Finishing our salads, we had a few minutes to relax before our entrées appeared.  At Z each table has some sort of childhood toy as a centerpiece.  So, while we waited we redesigned our Mr. Potato Head.  Other tables had Legos and Barrels of Monkeys.

Work on our centerpiece done, our meals arrived.  The chef had added steamed broccoli and grilled tofu to my dish.  My entire meal was delightful.  However, it was more food than I could eat, so my husband also was able to sample my vegetarian entrée.  His dinner was well flavored, though the sauce was thinner than others he has had.  Both dishes were presented attractively.

With our time running short, we skipped the dessert and coffee course.  However, having enjoyed such a great meal, I am sure we will return to sample more items from their menu.

  1. Brett says:

    It sounds like a great dinner. I am amazed at how you were able to build your own vegetarian dish. I’m not usually into vegetarian dishes but the variety you were able to get is pretty nice.

    The Be-Prepared drink sounds perfect – I love prosecco.

  2. Bret says:

    Hey look another Bret! 🙂

    First of all thank you for making me hungry as you couldn’t believe now! Haha! Food sounded great and that restaurant seems like a nice place. It’s unusual to find anywhere that will be as willing to customize your order as that, very customer friendly it sounds.

    Nights where everything seems to go perfectly are not ones easily forgotten. It’s amazing how something so simple as being attentive with customers or being willing to change a few things for their delightment can have a huge impact on things.

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