We headed to Zula Restaurant & Wine Bar – it’s in OTR and directly across from Music Hall. Street parking can be found but the Washington Park Garage is right there as well.
It’s a cozy atmosphere – I really like this table overlooking where the chefs work – I would have liked to sit there but we were a raucous group and they tucked us away in a back room.
We started with flatbreads – this is the Thyme Roasted Tomato Flatbread with fresh mozzarella, basil essence and a balsamic reduction ($14.50). It was good – the crust was cripsy and the roasted tomatoes were very rich.
We also got the Goat Cheese Flatbread ($15.75) with Fontina, Fresh Mozzarella, Tallegio and Chives. This was good but not as good as the tomato & balsamic – that just had a lot more flavor.
Zula is a tapas style Mediterranean restaurant – so they have a lot of small and large plates – hot and cold. So we just kept ordering until we were full – that is so much fun!
Next up was the Yellow Fin Tuna Crudo ($12.50) – raw Yellowfin, tomatoes, avocado, citrus and serrano peppers. It reminded me of a Poke dish I had years ago at a now-closed place in Mt Lookout. I have to say though – the Poke was better – this was missing some acidity – it was a bit one note in texture and flavor.
A couple of us hadn’t had Beef Carpaccio ($11.50) before – so we tried it. It was pretty good – the salad was a little silly – that frise drives me crazy – it’s just weird and hard to eat – the branches are so long. The beef was fine – it’s super thin – but doesn’t really taste like beef. I liked when you could taste a tiny bit of salt and balsamic – that really set the dish off.
Oleg (yes – out of towner named Oleg) was set on the Charred Calimari ($11.75) served with cherry tomatoes, watercress, preserved lemons and tahini. I do NOT do tentacles so I avoided those pieces – but it was fine. Again – good – but not HOLY CRAP I NEED TO EAT THAT AGAIN.
So our last item came with their House Baked Bread for 2 ($3.75) so let’s mention the bread first. It’s really good – crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside. Perfect for dipping…What should we dip it in?!
Mussels!!! Zula’s specialty are their 9 varieties of mussels ($14.50-$16.50). Now I’ve had them before – and never really notice much difference in the taste of the mussel when the sauce is different – but here I definitely did. The variety is WIDE – from French to New Orleans, from Curry to Napoli – you’ll definitely find at least one you like. I didn’t take pics of everybody’s because – really they all look the same when full.
Once you tackle the mussels down a bit – you get to the sauce in the bottom – that’s when the joy comes. Break off that bread and dip it in that sauce in the bottom of your bucket. Yum. Oleg & I tried the French Classic and it was amazing. We barely let anybody try a bite because it was so good. I tried the New Orleans – and while good – all I wanted to do was push it away and go back to my French bucket! It was a great ending to a fun dinner.
Why Should You Go? I feel like we tried just about EVERYTHING on the menu. All in all – it’s good. In a tapas style menu – I really hope to try a few things that I think are AMAZING and that I can’t wait to go grab someone and bring them in to try it. The only thing that came close was the mussels. If you’re intrigued by those – go and get those and some beers. The service was fine – our server was a little cocky but we really weren’t paying much attention because we were having too much fun.