Restaurant: Zoë’s Kitchen, Louisville, Kentucky
It was a beautiful early November afternoon. And I was hungry. I was hungry and standing in Blue Mile, a local running store at The Summit in Louisville, Kentucky, shopping for reflective gear to wear while running since the days are growing shorter and the nights longer. And it hit me. I was hungry. So was my roomie. And we had no idea where I could eat.
Granted, I know I have the Find Me Gluten-Free app on my phone, but still…
At the mention of choosing somewhere to eat, the very helpful employee at the running store, who I know from group runs I go on every Monday night, suggested a few options, one of them being just up the shopping center sidewalk – Zoë’s Kitchen.
Now, I had been wanting to try out Zoë’s Kitchen for awhile now, but my roommate had been pretty certain that their gluten-free menu was either non-existent or just not very big. But, as I mentioned above, I have an app for that…so I pulled out my phone and the first place Find Me Gluten-Free listed was…yep…Zoë’s Kitchen. I pulled up the menu, and while much of the rather extensive gluten-free menu was meat-based…there were quite a few vegetarian/vegan options as well on there.
It was just up the way. I was hungry. I was sold.
So…with the reflective gear purchased, we thanked our food pimp/employee and away we headed to feed our bellies. Stepping into Zoë’s Kitchen for the first time, I was immediately reminded of how Noodles & Co. is run. You place an order and are given a number. The order is sent to the line and is prepared by the very capable staff in the back and then brought to your table. Simple. Easy. Effective. Right away, I informed the cashier taking the order that I am a Celiac and can’t have gluten. Then, I placed my order and the proper deductions from the dish were immediately taken. I loved that.
My order…the Gluten-Free Veggie Kabobs, which comes with a side of White Beans and a Side Greek Salad ($8.55). To make the dish gluten-free, the pita and the feta cheese are left off. This entree was not charged extra for being gluten-free. It was a simple button pressed on the cash register, and the computer took off the ingredients so that the kitchen staff knew how to prepare it. I loved that.
My roomie decided to give the Steak Stack sandwich a try, and got it with the highly recommended Rice Pilaf ($7.39). Her sandwich consisted of sliced steak, portobello mushrooms, mozzarella, caramelized onions, feta spread, tomato, and rosemary oil all piled into two slices of sourdough bread. She loved every bite of it, and is totally in love with the rice pilaf. It was recommended by a runner. Of course it’s going to be awesome.
My entree was much larger than I expected, despite not having pita bread to go with it. The Veggie Kabob’s are grilled to ultimate perfection, with just the right amount of charring on each vegetable. The kabob’s themselves are made up of charbroiled portobello, zucchini, peppers, onions, and tomatoes. A bowl of the braised white beans with fresh rosemary comes on the side, and a HUGE side Greek salad comes along with it. The salad was secondary, but I took a few bites of it anyway. What I really wanted to dig into were those kabobs. And that was what I did. I eased all the charbroiled vegetables off the wooden skewer and tried each and every one of them. They were very fresh and broiled to absolute perfection. The tomatoes were still juicy. The zucchini, peppers and onion were all cooked to perfection. But the star was the large chunks of meaty portobello mushroom. Cooked and charbroiled to a blackened perfection, these were my favorite part of the entire dish and what I kept saving for last when it came to what I chose to skewer with my fork.
The White Beans with Fresh Rosemary were delicious. Not overly seasoned, but packing a delicious flavor. The gravy that they were nestled and hidden in was absolutely amazing. And as for the side salad…the humungous side salad…what I could eat of it was very good. It didn’t even need any dressing. That was the best part. Trust me…that’s weird for me to say. But the greens, the onions, the chopped veggies were all very ripe and just worked. But, it was the least interesting part of the entree, so I focused on the kabobs and beans…and it satisfied and filled me up.
For the record, my roommate loved the Steak Stack sandwich and said that her portobello mushrooms were also the star of the entire sandwich. Leave it to a Mediterranean-inspired comfort food restaurant to nail mushrooms!! Honestly…we both raved about them and they were both cooked in different ways. That speaks volumes.
What also speaks volumes is that we returned for lunch…today. Yep. We were out that way to finish off grocery shopping and lunch was needed. We didn’t even hesitate to stop back into Zoë’s Kitchen once again. I got the same thing as yesterday, but with the Fresh Fruit instead of the beans. And my roomie…she opted to try the Greek Chicken Pita with the Rice Pilaf ($7.39), although originally had thought to get the Steak Stack again.
Yeah…twice visited in two days…and amazing food each time. That definitely speaks volumes. Now, Zoë’s Kitchen is a minor chain, which crops up in 12 states. They have around 54 stores scatted in these 12 states, and are based out of Birmingham, Alabama. Nothing on their menu is fried. Everything is made fresh. And you can tell. The quality of the food really shines. And that’s what is important.
I’m already anticipating my next visit back. Maybe this time I’ll get the Hummus…but it’s so hard to even consider not getting those charbroiled portobello mushrooms again. They still make me crave.
If you happen to live in Alabama, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, or Virginia, chances are you can find a Zoë’s Kitchen somewhere nearby. Otherwise, you’re going to have to do some traveling if you’re seriously interested in this fast, delicious, Mediterranean-inspired food. I promise…it’s worth seeking out. I’m glad I did.