Monday, April 4, 2011

Z's Oyster Bar and Steakhouse- Revisit

*****AS OF JUNE 3, 2011 Z's IS CLOSED*****

Unfortunately, Z’s is a place that is sort of “out of sight, out of mind” because it is in such a location that the only time I see it (when I am on 465), I am not usually thinking about dinner, or paying attention to the scenery.  It is one of those places that we always think of just after we sit down somewhere else because while it is close to our house, it constantly escapes our memory.  And it isn’t because the food hasn’t been good, because for the most part, it always has been.  Finally, we had a night where we thought of it in advance of actually going to dinner, and went over.
So it was a Friday, and sadly, they weren’t very busy, although there were enough people in there to make you not feel totally alone.  And it was a beautiful sunny evening, and I appreciated the view overlooking the water. Also, as a super added bonus, Fridays are half price bottles of wine night at Z’s for anything under $100 (and our waiter told us more expensive bottles were negotiable as well, I am sure they would at least give you $50 off a bottle over $100).  So that was a great deal, and inspired us to buy a much more expensive bottle of wine than we might normally, falling directly into their trap.
Anyway, as for the food, it was all really good.  As in, I have been having a lot of disappointing meals lately around town and this one restored my faith.  Of course, this always seems to happen to me in restaurants that hardly have any people in them, which gets me worrying about their longevity. 
The menu is quite large, and I do have a few favorite items (fried oysters and the “walu” butterfish to name a couple), but I wanted to get some new things for the benefit of this review (and for the benefit of me not getting stuck in a rut).  I started with the lobster bisque ($10.95).  I really like lobster bisque that is really good, but I have had a lot that are not.  So I’m thinking, since Z’s specializes in seafood as well as steaks, and has a fair amount of lobster on the menu, if they can’t pull this off, then they’re in trouble.  Well, they totally pulled it off. It was delicious.  Just the right consistency, not too thick or runny but with deep rich lobster flavor.  There was also a little garnish of some diced lobster meat, parsley and green onions on top that I mixed in and which gave it just enough texture to break up the silky soup.  Hubby really liked it too and we pretty much licked the bowl clean.
Hubby started with the Washington’s salad ($8.95), which we have had before and it was also very good, and very large (seriously, if you want a salad share it. We did, and we still didn’t eat it all).  It was mixed field greens with Danish blue cheese, apples and candied pecans with a maple walnut vinaigrette.  The greens were dressed appropriately, and it included one of my favorite flavor combos—fruit and blue cheese, so I couldn’t go wrong here.  I liked that while the dressing had a touch of sweetness form the maple in the dressing, it was still clearly a vinaigrette, and didn’t have that fakey sweet taste that a lot of dressings do when they include some sort of sweet ingredient.
As is my way many times in restaurants like this that have very large portions (and more expensive prices), I went with another appetizer for my main dish, the Provencal steamed clams with tomatoes, garlic, white wine and parsley ($12.95).  These were also really good—there was lots of garlic in the broth (you could see all the dices of it on the bottom of the pot) and the combination of the acidity of the wine and tomatoes was great. It tasted fresh, the clams were the right size for me (not too big) and they were good.  They were certainly plentiful enough that you could share this as an appetizer with another person.  Or you can easily make an entire dinner here out of two appetizers.
Hubby had the rib eye steak (natch) ($34.95) and I have to say, this was the best steak I have had in a restaurant in recent memory.  It was wonderful. I am not sure how they seasoned it, but the flavor was amazing.  And it had a great grilled flavor. Their meats are prime quality and it shows.  Sometimes I don’t like rib eyes as much because if they are cooked just a teeny bit too much, they get a little tough, but this was spot on. Perfection.   We had agreed to share, but hubby was a little annoyed with how much of it I wanted I think.  In the classic steakhouse way, the sides are served (and priced) separately, and we ordered a side of the cheese browns as well (we always get these, hubby really likes them) ($5.95).  They are good, and I do like a bit of starch with my steak.  They are large chunks of potatoes (they call them hash browns, but I would say they are cut more like home fries) covered in cheddar cheese.  They are nice and tender and quite cheesy.  A nice accompaniment.  I have had several of their other side dishes as well in the past, and many of them are quite good.
After having quite a nice bottle of wine, and still having some of it left at this point, we decided to splurge on a dessert as well.  We split the Godiva chocolate crème brulee ($6.95).  It was dark bittersweet chocolate (that’s what sold me) cream that was caramelized on top in the classic crème brulee fashion.  You can’t really go wrong here. (Notice the spoon mark from a certain someone who couldn't wait to dig in.)
So next time you want a steak (or really, some of the freshest seafood in Indy too), go check this place out.  I think it is better than most of the other steak places in town, and one of the few independents, especially on the north side.  And you can get a great deal on a bottle of wine on Fridays.  That alone may help us remember it more, especially on Fridays!
Z's Oyster Bar and Steakhouse
6220 Castleway West Drive
Indy,  46250


  1. I've been wanting to go here for quite a while, but as you said "out of sight, out of mind" so I always forget about it. I love seafood though, so I may need to remind myself more. Thanks for posting!

  2. If you want fresh raw oysters, Z's is the only place to go. Their wait staff is also the best in the city.

  3. Jim

    Not the easiest places to get to, but the food is fantastic! Great place for a business meal or a special night out. To me, the destination is worth it!

  4. I've only been to the Zs in Louisville, but I love the steak tartare and oysters.

  5. Went to Z's over the weekend. Started with oysters which were fresh and delicious. I am more of an east coast oyster fan, but these from BC were sweet and delicious. The washington salad was very good and HUGE. But I ordered the crabcakes as my entree, and while I was very excited to see so much lump crab meat and very little filler, they turned out to be dry dry dry. Very disappointing- I actually wanted some mayo! Plus, the sauce they served with it was so strong in flavor, it was all that you could taste, even when you just used a speck. MY DC's steak was "okay" as he put it, but didn't compare to Flemings or any of the major steakhouses in town. So I think if we go back, it may just be for oysters and apps!