Live Real. Eat Real.

Zazio’s Italian Restaurant

As those of you who are crazy enough to hang around here may remember, I accompanied Beloved to Kalamazoo, Michigan on a business trip the week of Christmas.  Which also happened to be the week of my birthday.

We didn’t get to see a lot of Kalamazoo, which is really a shame – they have an Air Zoo, among many other attractions.  But since our trip (to say nothing of my birthday) happened to be in the dead of winter – and it was mostly a business trip (well, for Beloved; I spent most of my time in our suite devouring Under the Dome and battling a computer virus) – we just didn’t get out much.

The one thing we did do, though, was book a reservation at Zazio’s Italian Restaurant’s Chef’s Table. The Chef’s Table is a small arena at the back of the restaurant with a full cooking station where the chef (or, in our case, the sous chef) prepares a 5-course dinner for you and 10 other people, right in front of your face.

With a complimentary wine selection.

Now, if you’ve been reading here for any amount of time at all, you know I’m not overly fond of Italian cuisine, and I was even more dubious about dinner at the chef’s table when I realized it was a fixed menu – you got what they served you, and that was it.  And the last thing I wanted was a lot of pasta, mozzarella, and tomato sauce for my birthday dinner.

But the lure of having a chef prepare my meal – and answer my questions about what he was cooking! – was just too much to resist.  And, they had their menu for the month of December posted on their website:

A polenta and goat cheese appetizer.

Seared scallops and a small salad of bitter greens.

Chestnut tortellini in a browned butter and cream sauce.

Rib eye steak poached in butter.

A rustic fig tart with honey gelato.

Your mouth is watering isn’t it?  It was even better than it sounds.

For a foodie like me, it was quite an experience.  The chef was skilled, personable, knowledgeable and willing to answer just about any question.  The waitstaff was helpful but unobtrusive.  The wine was well-chosen and extremely suitable to the meal (in fact, we bought two bottles of the wine that accompanied the main course, it was so good).

Oh – if you have any dietary restrictions at all, they will do their best to accommodate you.  Also, many of the ingredients the chef uses are for sale; we picked up two very nice imported Italian extra-virgin olive oils as well as some saba (a grape syrup, or “must”, used as a condiment) along with the wine.  And the cost of the dinner itself was not outrageously expensive.

We had a lovely time, and the food was simply delicious.  If you’re ever in Kalamazoo, Michigan, stop by the Radisson Hotel (or better yet – stay there, it’s a lovely place and their retail stores have the best point of sale software you’ll ever see :P) and make reservations for the Chef’s Table at Zazio’s Italian Restaurant.

It will be SO worth it.

For more Travel Tip Thursday, head on over to Pseudo’s place.  Tell her Jan at the Sushi Bar sent ya; she’ll treat you right.


19 comments

Beth says:

Oh, this sounds like a GREAT evening!
.-= Beth´s last blog ..And are we always this charming? =-.

Erin says:

Oh Travel Tip Thursdays, I miss you so…
I’m no foodie, but chestnut tortellini sounds fabulous.
.-= Erin´s last blog ..not splashy nor plucky =-.

Oh, this sounds so good! And fun.
.-= Maureen@IslandRoar´s last blog ..Spin Cycle: Spring Cleaning =-.

Michele says:

“Chestnut tortellini in a browned butter and cream sauce?” Now, that I have to try. JR would have loved the steak. Sounds like you had a great time.
.-= Michele´s last blog ..Menopause – A Word That Means the World to Me =-.

Jane Gaston says:

OMG, you and Beloved must have had a fantastic evening and I envy you, especially the chestnut Tortellini!
.-= Jane Gaston´s last blog .. =-.

Oh, that sounds like a PERFECT Birthday Dinner! :) YUM!! :)
.-= Stacy (the Random Cool Chick)´s last blog ..Spinning up some Spring Cleaning =-.

Mama Badger says:

Ok, first you make me miss my kids, now you make me hungry. Why do I visit? Oh, right, because I love reading your blog.

That whole meal sounds delicious. And like a lot of fun. I’m glad you didn’t get the “standard” italian meal (though if that’s what they would serve at the chef’s table he wouldn’t really be much of a chef, huh?)
.-= Mama Badger´s last blog ..Random Tuesday Thoughts- First Thought! =-.

LPC says:

Jan! That first photo is fantastic! I mean, fantastic. You took it? BTW, if you liked this experience, if you are ever in SF, go eat at Canteen. Sit at the counter. You will be in heaven. I will get to see more killer photos…
.-= LPC´s last blog ..A Simple Thank You Will Suffice =-.

Jan says:

Alas, I did not take these pictures – I forgot to take my camera to the restaurant (and I doubt they would have let me get that close to the stove in the kitchen area LOL). No, I pulled these off of their website, but I was pleased because the pics are apparently of the same menu we ate.

rubbish says:

Sounds and looks awesome. I’m not really into Italian food but I’d eat that.
.-= rubbish´s last blog ..New Years Eve, Wii fit and copious amounts of Port. =-.

Toni says:

What a great dinner for your birthday…business smizness; it sounds like you had a great time! x
.-= Toni´s last blog ..You couldn’t even write if you knew how to spell it! =-.

For a second, I thought it read as a tig fart. Fig tart sounds so much better.
.-= Sprite’s Keeper´s last blog ..Just add sprinkles. =-.

Lawdy, Lawdy! mouth watering doesn’t begin to describe how hungry you just made me. I had a salad for dinner. Wow that sounds so cool. They have a kitchen table in Buca di Beppo but I don’t think it comes close to what you’ve described here.

Pseudo says:

So much fun to be had here! I would love that dinner. But you knew that, right ; – )

Veryy Happy Belated birthday to you Jan.

BTW, didn’t there used to be a little saying about Kalamzoo? I’ve heard it somewhere.
.-= Pseudo´s last blog ..Lost. Also Known as Mokule’ia. =-.

mrsbear says:

What a fantastic experience and the menu sounds divine. I would eat it. All of it. At least it wasn’t what you usually think of when you hear Italian. Yum. You celebrated in fine form.
.-= mrsbear´s last blog ..Like Mother Like Blogger =-.

I’m exhausted. I must really love you … you have no idea what I did to snag a computer for a few minutes tonight! : ) That restaurant looks like a lot of fun. My brother lived in Kalamazoo for a few years. He went directly there from here and it was a bit of an adjustment weather-wise, but he ended up liking it a lot while he was there.

I feel so out of touch without my computer ….. like the wicked witch … I’m melllllllllllllting!!
.-= Twenty Four At Heart´s last blog ..Maybe I SHOULD Move to a Cold Climate? =-.

Monica says:

I’m not a huge fan of Italian food either and I am Italian. I can handle the Alfredo Pasta’s with Angel hair…but not a big fan of tomato based anything!
But that menu sounded DELICIOUS! I LOVE scallops!
.-= Monica´s last blog ..OUCH! What Have I Done To My Knee? =-.

Sage says:

What did your husband do to get sent on a business trip (banished?) to Kzoo the week of Christmas? I’ll have to check out your suggestion, but since I’m less than an hour away–thanks for the Travel Tip!

[...] may or may not recall that I did a review of an Italian restaurant called Zazios back in December.  It’s a nice, upscale place situated in the Radisson Hotel in Kalamazoo, [...]

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