The new Zazu has opened in The Barlow of Sebastopol, and it’s great news for lovers of pig, pig and more pig. While there’s plenty more than pork on the menu, it’s clear what’s the specialty here.
The new kitchen is huge, taking up about 50 percent of the 3,600 square foot restaurant area, which means chef-owner Duskie Estes and her husband-butcher John Stewart have even more space in which to play their porcine symphony. The chefs are making all their products on-site now, including their Black Pig Meat Co. bacon and salumi, plus specialties like chicharrone peanut butter cups and gelato.
Appropriately, the name has been updated to Zazu Kitchen + Farm (it used to be Zazu Restaurant + Farm), which also reflects the new large garden, too, thriving in raised beds on the patio plus around a grassy park next to the building. Guests can step outside next to the patio and peek through the giant window to watch the kitchen action and a glimpse of the butchering work, and the warehouse style interior with roll up garage doors is anchored around a centerpiece four-sided bar and open kitchen.
Ah, but the food. Estes, who has been a Next Iron Chef contender, has expanded the menu, for handmade pastas, pizzas, family style meals like whole star anise duck served with side in a tin bucket, and a full liquor license.
There’s even more succulent pig to enjoy, such as an appetizer of squishy sweet bacon-wrapped dates sprinkled in harissa that blend sweet, salty and savory. More adventurous types can tuck into a snout to tail sampler of chewy smoked paprika pig ear, malt vinegar chicharrones and actual pigtail paired with a bit of pickled watermelon rind to sweeten the deal.
Despite its name “pig face poutine” is more mainstream, bringing a pile of juicy pulled meat scatted over skinny, pig lard confit fries jazzed with a bit of Tabasco gravy and Pt. Reyes blue cheese. It’s a natural partner with the “bacon + eggs” cocktail, like a whiskey sour of Black Pig bacon-infused bourbon and farm egg that’s frothy and mild.
There are plenty of excellent salads, fish and a very good half Southern fried chicken rounded out with a choice of sides like grilled corn cobettes sprinkled in smoked paprika butter. But the pork theme holds strong, from a big burger made of Black Big boar and topped in pimento cheese and vinegary barbecue sauce with a side of fries, to fusilli noodles tossed with plenty of crisp-edged pork belly and savory clams brightened with lemon and parsley.
For dessert, more pig is a must, in the shape of fresh, hot maple glazed donuts sprinkled in bacon bits. A lighter finish is fun, too, with Black Pig bacon caramel popcorn.
Best of all, here, no one will blame you if you make a pig of yourself.
Details: Zazu Kitchen + Farm, 6770 McKinley St. #150 (at The Barlow), Sebastopol, 707-523-4814, zazurestaurant.com. Lunch Weds.-Fri., dinner Weds.-Mon., brunch Sat.-Sun., with continuous service from 11:30 a.m. to midnight or so. The kitchen is closed Tuesdays for meat production. Reservations accepted.
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