Chow, Baby: Wednesday, June 5, 2003
A D V E R T I S E M E N T
A D V E R T I S E M E N T
Planet Lunch/Dinner

Chow, Baby was excited about Zolon, the hip new Sundance Square bistro brought to you by restaurant development company Planet Zolon, because it sounded like someplace Mr. Spock might hang out. What a disappointment. The cozy space in the new Bank One building is beautifully modern, but without a single future-schlocky plasti-tacky note. Founder/president Zolon A. Wilkins III likewise refused to fit into the small screen — Chow, Baby figured somebody with a cool name like that would be a soul mate of the Mod Squad’s Clarence Williams III, but Chow, Baby’s greeting of “Solid!” met a blank stare. Chow, Baby really needs to na na hey hey kiss the1960s goodbye already.

There’s nothing yesterday about Zolon; it’s 100 percent modern contemporary current fresh and up-to-the-minute. Noise: lots. Waitstaff: knowledgable, solicitious, gorgeous. Menu: bistro eclectic, which means Mediterranean-inspired soups, salads, grilled meat and fish, and wood-grilled pizza. Prices: on the high side, except that almost every dish comes in “Z” and “demi-Z” (half-price) portions, and the demi-Z is plenty. Chow, Baby’s dining companion at Zolon’s opening last week was reviewer Nancy Schaadt; since she’ll give you the details soon, Chow, Baby will simply say that its Euro salad ($5 demi), salmon filet ($8 demi), and sugar pie with ice cream ($9 — ouch!) were all great, and go back to watching TVLand.

A Nice Plate of Pique

Chow, Baby has calculated that it would be smart enough to solve the world hunger problem if only it could tap the brain space that it presently uses to store grudges. Thus, as a start, Chow, Baby has decided to forgive the intersection of Houston and 9th Sts. Oh, it was great back in ’99, when Chow, Baby moved into a cool downtown loft to live the bourgeois-bohemian life, like a BMW-driving mortgage broker with a mod haircut. The Human Bean coffee shop downstairs with fresh Krispy Kremes, Terry’s great homecooking just up the street, the Black Dog around the corner with comfy couches and Kevin Aldridge unplugged: Life was perfect. Until two actual BMW-driving mortgage brokers with mod haircuts moved into the loft next door and turned the tissue-walled hallway into the smoking area for their all-night parties. Plus Chow, Baby’s refrigerator wouldn’t keep leftovers cold.

There’s more to the 9th and Houston grudge than that — constant street repairs, Randall’s ownership change — but the point is that last week’s visit to the Branding Iron Grill at 911 Houston was Chow, Baby’s first in a couple of years. Yup, the fries (winner of Fort Worth Weekly’s Best of the West-o-Plex in 2001) are as good as ever — thickly cut, batter-dipped, and fried up to a crunchy outside, tender inside. They’re à la carte ($2.20) with a chicken, Philly cheese, or fish sandwich but included in the burger combo, $5.15-$6.59 depending on size and toppings. The burgers are winners too, thick ’n’ juicy and served on a nice fresh kaiser roll. A homemade fried apple pie ($1.75) soothed more synapses in Chow, Baby’s once-bitter brain. Perhaps Chow, Baby should work on letting go of the Purple Cow chip on its shoulder.


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