South by Northwest: Zydeco remains a predictably unpredictable gem | The Source Weekly - Bend, Oregon
The Source Weekly’s reporting is made possible by the power of your support. Be a part of it!
Pin It

South by Northwest: Zydeco remains a predictably unpredictable gem 

Flavor piled high at Zydeco.Like so many of the best things in life, Zydeco isn't exactly as it seems. You wouldn't guess that behind a modest façade tucked away among car dealerships on Business 97 you'd find a country-Zen dining room awash in sage tones and minimalist art or the subtly swanky lacquered terra cotta bar dotted with colorful specialty cocktails sitting beneath hanging droplet lights. And the food, too, is unexpected: high-flown in execution yet completely down to earth in concept and attitude. And rather than offering Cajun cuisine, as the name suggests (it's actually a tribute to a family dog), the menu is American with a pan-southern emphasis. All around, Zydeco is a series of happy paradoxes, combining northwestern refinement with robust southern flavors, urban sophistication with southern hospitality, and upscale fare served up in impressively southern portions.

With so many attractive options on the menu, we decided to consult our bartender/server, Chris, who was both knowledgeable and incredibly helpful, as was every other staff member we came in contact with. It was a smart move. We ended up going with his recommendations across the board, all of which were spot on.

The wine list was unpretentious and easy to navigate with a good selection from Oregon and California, a smattering from around the world, and several bottles under $30. Organized by grape, most of which would be familiar even to the novice, guidance wasn't really necessary, though like everything else, the California Zin that Chris suggested was terrific.

For starters, as soon as you sit down, order the barbecue shrimp with southern grit cake ($11) and enjoy it while perusing the menu. As you might imagine from a place so predictably unpredictable, it doesn't resemble any barbecue shrimp you've ever seen, but it's astoundingly good. Bathed in a smoky, peppery brown sauce, the heap of shrimp over a creamy polenta-like cake was almost enough for a full meal. The grilled artichokes ($8)- two large artichokes halved and grilled-were tender and delicious, served with two dipping sauces, one butter and one mayo-based. Another good option is the Acadian Flatbread baked with Monterey Jack and your choice of three toppings such as mushrooms, olives, and andouille sausage ($10), which they also feature at 28, Zydeco's sister restaurant/lounge downtown.

When it came time for entrees, we, again, did as we were told. Zydeco's signature dish, grilled redfish ($25) in a Cajun cream sauce topped with crab meat and served with sautéed spinach and mashed potatoes was rich in flavor, but relatively light at the same time, and definitely lived up to its reputation. For a meatier dish, we were trying to decide between the jambalaya, the wild mushroom pork tenderloin, and the baby back ribs. After a few pertinent questions - hunger level, flavor preference - we were steered toward the baby back ribs ($22), a great choice. Slow-cooked and seasoned with a wonderful dry rub, which you can buy for home use, the meat was - and this is no figure of speech - actually falling off the bone. I asked for the barbecue sauce on the side, which was tasty and not too sweet or too heavy, but not really necessary. Served with mashed potatoes and roasted vegetables, the dish was at least two meals' worth.

For dessert, the Almond Wet Cake ($6) is a crowd favorite, or to close out a gluten-free meal (Zydeco has a full menu of options for those with this particular dietary restriction), try Mom Jan's flourless chocolate cake. On every front, Zydeco anticipates and caters to diners' needs, even ones they didn't know they had - like free homemade doggie treats to take home and environmentally sound microwave-safe cardboard doggie bags. And with portions like this, you'll likely need one. Every aspect of the experience at Zydeco was a pleasant surprise.

Zydeco Kitchen & Cocktails
1085 SE 3rd St., 312-2899
Mon.-Sat. opens 4:30 p.m.

About The Author

Pin It


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Readers also liked…

Today | Fri | Sat | Sun | Mon | Tue | Wed
ConnectW Munch and Mingle

ConnectW Munch and Mingle - The Phoenix Restaurant

Thu., Aug. 11, 11:45 a.m.-1 p.m.
Submitting an event is free and easy.

Newsletter Signup

Get Central Oregon daily news
directly in your inbox

Get Social

Latest in Chow

More by Alice Finer

  • Repeat Offender: Central Oregon's bad-boy Top Chef defends his title

    Kokanee Cafe's Roscoe Roberson takes home the top honors again at this Bite of Bend
    • Jun 30, 2010
  • Little Bites: Repeat Offender: Central Oregon's bad-boy Top Chef defends his title

    Another Top Chef Competition at Bite of Bend has come and gone, leaving delicious memories in its wake (and for us judges the residual heartburn and sunburn that go along with them!).
    • Jun 30, 2010
  • Après Ski Pub Crawl! - Eat and drink your way down the mountain for a song

    There are pros and cons to situating a ski resort on National Forest land, but one of the biggest cons for Mt. Bachelor - that last call for food and alcohol coincides with the last chair at around 4 p.m. - can also be a huge pro. Since après ski up top lasts only a few minutes, local businesses all the way down the mountain and into town roll out some excellent happy hour options to lure in passers-by looking for post-play refreshments. Whether you're a vacationer or a local, a hungry winter sportsman or simply a bargain hunting day-drinker looking for a deal, there's après ski merriment to be found around every corner. Set yourself up with an appetite and a designated driver and embark on your very own après pub-crawl down the hill - a must for any winter in Bend. Here's one possible route, in geographical order:
    • Dec 30, 2009
  • More »

Want to advertise with us?

For info on print and digital advertising, >> Click Here

© 2022 LAY IT OUT INC | 704 NW GEORGIA AVE, BEND, OREGON 97703  |   Privacy Policy

Website powered by Foundation