Zolo ain't no ordinary Mexican joint

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When we pulled up in front of the restaurant called Zolo in Boulder, Gordon said, "this place looks expensive." I assured him that Steuart said it wasn't. Then I noticed some college-aged kids in the bar and felt confident if they could afford Zolo, so could we.

We had learned about Zolo because our friend of a friend has worked there for 15 years. Michele happened to be working on Sunday night so we asked to be seated in her section. Although she responded warmly to our smiles and hellos, she clearly didn't remember us until I reintroduced us. She gave us a 10 minutes heads up on the happy hour almost being over and encouraged us to order up. We had the coin margaritas which were as Michele promised, the best ever! And we selected several small plates (tapas?) from the happy hour menu. A blue corn fried oyster on a Mexican slaw, the sope with three fillings and smoked pork ribs that gave new meaning to falling off the bone! We were off to a very good start. Each taste was better than we could have imagined.

I was satisfied with just the small plates, but we were on a roll and decided to try some more small plates off the dinner menu. We opted for the Swiss chard, duck hash, and the polenta grits cake. Wow! This ain't no ordinary Mexican joint. The chard tasted like it was sautéed in bacon drippings. The grits cake reminded us of scrapple in taste and texture, but tasted like it might in fact be good for you and the duck hash was tender pieces of duck confit mixed up with a variety of seasonal veggies.

It was hard to bypass dessert after loving all that had come before. Gordon said the only thing he wanted was the flan. It was presented innovatively in a sort of bell jar with the top tilted against the glass. Topped with marmalade, Michele advised us to stick the spoon to the bottom and grab some caramel and mix it with the custard together on the spoon. Wowzaa!  Fantastic!

We loved Zola. It was exciting and new, classy but reasonable, nicely lit and terrific service! Thanks Michele for an awesome evening.



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