I had the pleasure of eating lunch at Zelo on a recent business trip to Minneapolis. Located at 831 Nicollet Ave South, it was just a couple of blocks from my hotel. When I walked by, most of the outside seating was full, and since it was quite windy, I decided to get a table inside. It was very crowded, which I took as a great sign, but I only had to wait about five minutes to be seated. Zelo appears to cater to the business crowd, at least at lunch – I had the feeling it was a place to see and be seen. But as crowded as it was when I first arrived, it quickly cleared out when lunch hours were over. Of course, I was more interested in the food, and was happy to see a number of “best restaurant” awards displayed.
Zelo’s interior is beautiful and sophisticated, with white linen table cloths, cloth napkins and beautifully set tables. There are whimsical decorations as well, especially the cool salt and pepper shakers on each table. And some of the glass artwork is absolutely stunning (unfortunately my pictures were too fuzzy to print.)
My server, Andrea, was quite attentive and friendly, but did not hover. She helped me decide on which iced tea to order. I chose the Napolean blend ($3.00), which was nice but a little bit pricey, although the cheapest of the nonalcoholic beverage selections. I was thrilled to see a number of vegetarian items on the menu, clearly marked with a “V” as well as a number of gluten-free items. Lunch categories include small plates, soup and salads, sandwiches, pasta, pizza, flatbreads, fish and seasonal entrees, ranging from $5.00 for a cup a soup to $21.00 for an entrée. Most of the pastas were available in small or regular servings.
I had almost decided on Pablo’s homemade ravioli, which is stuffed with ricotta cheese, Parmigiano Reggiano, tomato and fresh herbs, when Andrea informed me that the soup of the day was gazpacho. I love gazpacho, so I decided to order a bowl of it and a small Brasiliana salad. Great choice! And since I was ordering soup and salad together, the price was $12.00 (instead of $15.50 if ordered separately.)
The gazpacho was tasty and had great flavors. It had micro croutons and tiny bits of tomatoes, avocados and celery – more than likely chopped in a food processor. Personally, I like bigger chunks of vegetables in gazpacho, but the overall mix of ingredients was great. So was the warm and crusty bread that accompanied it.
The Brasiliana salad was fresh and excellent with a great combination of flavors. It had celery, palm hearts, butter lettuce, sweet onion, tomato and avocado tossed with a delightful lemon vinaigrette. This is definitely a salad that I will try to recreate at home.
Zelo is open for lunch, dinner, late night and offers a “456 Attitude Adjustment” menu (four cocktails for $5.00 til 6 p.m., M-F.) I will be back next time I’m in Minneapolis!
- Price: Mediuim Especially for lunch – but worth it!
- Service: 4.75 Awesome, friendly and professional.
- Food: 4.75 Fresh and excellent.
- Recommend: I wish we had a Zelo in Raleigh – I would
be a regular!
- Kid friendly: Probably – more of a business crowd at
lunch, but I’d bring mine.
1= hater, 2=poor, 3=adequate, 4=above average, 5=superb