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Zola, Wine-Centric American at the Spy Museum, 8th & F Streets NW in Penn Quarter - Closed


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I didn't see a topic on Zola, so since Rockwell has indicated he wants a thread on all the restaurants in DC (that's quite a goal) I thought I'd start one.

Had a restaurant week dinner at Zola last night. Everything on the menu was available with no upcharges. I started with the appetizer of mussels in a broth of sage, garlic, and white anchovies -- very nice, and a huge portion for an appetizer. For an entree I again went the shellfish route and had scallops served on a bed of corn and applewood bacon. The scallops were perfectly cooked, but the entree was slightly undersalted (the bacon helped, but only a little). Dessert was their "flight" of butterscotches. I was hoping for less butter and more scotch, but it was still good, I guess. Dessert, again lost on me. The drinks (as they always are at Zola) were fabulous.

But I'm really leaving out the best part. I really hope someone involved with the operation of Zola is reading this:

We were an 8 top of the most annoying kind -- guests arriving staggered, some pretty late.

We were all young. Some weren't exactly well dressed. It would have been easy for any server to look at serving our table as a chore.

But our waiter -- whose name, I unfortunately, have forgotten? He was fantastic. A-triple plus. At the bar after the meal, I polled the rest of our merry band on how they felt about the meal. The standard quote: "The food was good, I liked it, but the service was awesome!"

Zola manager/owner/whoever: Find the waiter serving the 8 top that was to have been seated at 6 PM, 8/3/05. And tell him that he was easily one of the best waiters I've ever had in DC. Thank you.

And yes, we left appropriate compensation.

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[posted on eGullet 2003-2004]

I had dinner at the bar at Zola tonight. Want to see me the next time I go in? Look for the guy being dragged, kicking and screaming.

There were several bartenders, and the one I had was polite, nice and cool: the one-and-only highlight of the evening.

I immediately asked for the winelist, and ordered a half-bottle of Bandol Rose, and watched the bartender type the bin number in the computer, only to return and ask me 'what was that you ordered again?'

"The Bandol Rose, the half-bottle."

"I can't find it in the computer."

"No problem - can I see a list of beers?"

"We don't have one, but I can rattle them off."

"Cool."

"On tap, Stella Artois, Pilsner Urquell, Samuel Adams. In bottle, Budweiser, Miller Lite, ...."

"I'll have a Pilsner."

"Coming right up."

He went to the tap, and pulled it, only to get a hiss of air. He called another person over and asked him to check the Pilsner.

"No worries, I'll have a Stella."

"Are you sure?"

"No problem!"

The Stella arrived, and I asked to look at the menu and winelist again. I ordered a Viognier "from the south of France" (translation: not a Condrieu) by the glass to have with my 'Buffalo chicken croquettes.' While I was nursing my Stella, the bartender poured me my glass of Viognier. Then, about three minutes later, the croquettes arrived while I was still about a third of the way finished my beer. I left the wine and croquettes alone and did a double-time on the Stella, then pulled my wine and my appetizer in front of me.

Everything was well-and-good at that point, the croquettes being perfectly serviceable although I'm still in a daze that the sauce was billed as 'Maytag Blue' because I've had that cheese many times in my life, and they must not have used very much of it.

About halfway through my appetizer, the complimentary basket of garlic pita chips arrived. They tasted so strongly of cheap garlic powder that I took about three reluctant bites, desperately hoping I wasn't tasting what I thought I was, and then left them alone for the rest of the evening.

I finished my glass of Viognier, had two croquettes remaining, and the bartender came back and said, 'another glass?' I did a double-take, wondering what to do, and wanted to say, 'just a splash,' but didn't want to sound cheap, so I said after a moment, "sure."

He went to the wine fridge, pulled out a bottle, and emptied the remnants into my glass. There was only enough to fill the glass halfway, so he went back to the fridge and pulled another bottle, and emptied its remnants in my glass as well! I looked at my glass, and it had a ton of crystalline tartrates which often form at the bottom of the bottle in white wines that have been refrigerated at too low a temperature.

I finished my croquettes, and had only taken a few sips of the glass, so I pushed it to the side, wondering if the bartender would take it away and comp it, which he didn't.

I then asked for a glass of Barbera to go with the pork chop I had ordered, and when the pork chop arrived a couple minutes later, the wine was poured, and my entree was in front of me.

I took one sip of the wine and it was served at room temperature, and I actually let out a sigh of despair that nobody else could hear. The pork chop was about two-inches thick, and was as tough as a shoe. I had a butter knife to cut it with. I have been to the corporate-owned Artie's in Fairfax at least twenty times, and have had their pork chop at least a half-dozen times. On its worst night, it was not as bad as what I was forced to eat tonight. To add insult to injury, the wine was plonk, tasting like high-yield, overcropped industrial swill.

At that point, all I wanted to do was finish the meal and leave. I looked longingly out the window at Poste, over the horizon was Matchbox, Ella's ...

As I was about to walk out, the bartender said to me, 'sorry we didn't have that Bandol.'

To the owners of Zola: you must have done well at adding two fractions together in elementary-school math, as you seem to know quite a bit about the lowest common denominator.

To the people in charge of the RAMY award given to Zola this year for "Best Wine and Beverage Program": you are unqualified to give such an award out, you do not know what you are doing, and this borders on being a crime against humanity.

This was not an off-night; this restaurant misses, plain and simple. Do not spend your money at this theme park.

Cheers,

Rocks.

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[posted on eGullet 2003-2004]

Well, surprise! I had dinner at Zola Sunday night this week (would I be intellectually honest if I didn’t retry some of these places?) My server at the bar was Ryan, a quiet-but-cool young man who refilled my glass of Transylvanian (!) Sauvignon Blanc without asking or charging me. And then I sat and listened to Younes, a charming bartender from Morocco who has worked at Zola since it opened – he was regaling an older out-of-town couple sitting next to me with his friendliness and vignettes about his country. He made their evening, and when they left, I mentioned to him how much I appreciated his gesture of kindness towards them, which was above-and-beyond the normal call. I ordered a burger and fries with gouda, medium-rare, and a glass of red Cotes-du-Rhone which, sigh, was served too warm. The three of us (Ryan, Younes and I) continued to talk as the bar wasn’t terribly crowded at that time. Ryan is an expert at motorcycle mechanics, specializing in the astounding combination of Harley-Davidsons and Ducattis, and if I had a bike that needed any work done to it at all, he would be the first person I called. The cheeseburger arrived with five pounds of fries, and when I cut into it, it was cooked throughout and well-done. I took a couple of polite bites, and then just lost interest in the sandwich itself, preferring to enjoy my vino. Ryan asked me how it was, and in an unusual moment of candor, I said “it’s well-done, and I’m just not a big fan of well-done meat.” Younes overheard this, and immediately apologized and said they would redo the burger, to which I said it wasn’t their fault, and I really didn’t care that much about the outcome of a cheeseburger. Nevertheless, Ryan chimed in and said “it’s our responsibility,” and so they took my plate from me. In the interim, Younes mentioned that it seemed like I appreciated wine, and that they’d soon be offering a flight of three Austrian red wines, and would I like to try them? How was I to say no? The wines, as it turns out, were imported by one of my dearest friends Terry Theise, and I was poured three glasses to try and enjoy, which I did with gusto. Then the burger arrived, perfectly cooked medium-rare. What was not to like? Their concern over something as simple as a cheeseburger changed a bad food experience into everything one could possibly expect, and their magnanimity and generosity with the wines made the evening. I asked Ryan to serve me a digestif of his choice, and to Younes' objection, he chose and served a perfectly fine Bonny Doon Vin de Glacière (I think Younes had something a bit stronger in mind!) I then asked for the check. It was impossibly low, and I mentioned to them that it needed to be updated. “That’s the check,” Younes said. I said thank you and left a tip that was commensurate with their extraordinary level of service. I saw Ryan take the check over to the register, open it, and try to maintain his composure when he saw the tip I left them. They deserved what they got, because they were both wonderful, and my experience at Zola this week was a winner because of the efforts of these two fine bartenders. Kudos, gentlemen, and my best wishes to you.

Cheers!

Rocks.

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Growing up on Cape Cod has left me a penchant for this sublime snack. I say snack, because I usually finish eating a normal roll in 4 or 5 bites as my wife stares agog calculating the ludicrous price-per-bite figure of the endeavour smile.gif .

There are two schools of thought regarding the lobster roll:

1) The "unspoilt" school. I would say as you travel up the coast of New England, this preperation kicks into full gear at Red's Eats (a shack in Wiscasset that's become a media darling). Here, a generous portion of lobster is served on the traditional "New England Style" hot-dog roll (the sides of the roll are not crust - for easy grilling*) with a side of butter. There is no dressing for the lobster, this is a purist's dream.

2) The "salad" school. Essentially, most establishments prepare lobster rolls in this fashion. A mayo-based dressing is applied to the lobster and it is often mixed with various fillers (celery etc). I've never seen a roll south of New England that doesn't fall into this category.

My preference falls somewhere between the two. Filler is sin, but a roll can be dressed in a manner that compliments - not overwhelms - the taste of the lobster.

I've sampled three rolls at three restaurants in this town: Legal Seafood, Kinkead's, and Hank's Oyster Bar. My favorite thus far is Legal's. I feel like the other two had dressing that overwhelmed the lobster: Kinkead's by seasoning, and Hank's by consistency (too thick). Legal also serves their roll with a generous portion of fries, however I've found the rolls can be inconsistent. My roll at Tyson's II was much better prepared than it's cousin in Crystal City.

So,

Where can a down-easter get his fix around here? smile.gif

* Can anybody tell me where I can purchase these buns around here???

Zola's has a good lobster roll, filled with fresh, sweet meat and not too much filler.

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I'm being treated to Zola before the U2 concert (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) later this month. I hope my experience is more like Don's latter experience than his former. :lol:

Has anyone been recently? Anything I should keep in mind while ordering? It's one of those joyous evenings when I get to order whatever I want. (And frankly, I deserve it as I was the one who scored the concert tickets.)

Cheers, everybody!

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What's up with Cafe 15?

And what's that place called near the Spy museum? Zoloft or something.  Is that place a goner?

I ate lunch at Zola today, and it was quite enjoyable. I had the heirloom tomato and blue cheese appetizer. One of the tomatoes was amazing; the other was okay. A dining companion had the same opinion of hers as well. I had crab cakes as my entrees, and they were excellent. They were served with peas, which is odd to me, but strangely works very well. I skipped dessert, but that is probably for the best as I was treated to not one, but two excellent desserts last night at Corduroy (I highly recommend both the grape sorbet and the the banana ice cream drizzled with rum).

I go to Cafe 15 every couple months for lunch. I have always enjoyed it, but I don't go more frequently because it takes too long. Although I appreciate the idea of a lingering lunch, no meal should take three hours if it doesn't include alcohol (which I unfortunately can not have in the middle of the day).

Cafe 15's bar, Le Bar, is a different story. I go fairly frequently (very close), but am frequently disappointed in the service (also slow, not great when you are thirsty) and the food is hit or miss. I believe that they finally allow you to order from the Cafe 15 menu, but I try to avoid eating there because it never works out right.

Edited because I am too dependant on spell-check to write without it.

Edited by lackadaisi
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How was it? My first two or three visits were kind of "eh" but due to proximity to my office, I kept having to go back. Finally - breakthrough!! Great meal there last spring. I look forward to returning, and have hopes for a repeat of the latter experience.

I'm being treated to Zola before the U2 concert (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) later this month. I hope my experience is more like Don's latter experience than his former. :lol:

Has anyone been recently? Anything I should keep in mind while ordering? It's one of those joyous evenings when I get to order whatever I want. (And frankly, I deserve it as I was the one who scored the concert tickets.)

Cheers, everybody!

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Well, luckily the concert was OUTSTANDING!, because my first visit to Zola was pretty underwhelming. I will give it another try, because I think even really good restaurants can have off nights, but still...disappointing.

My companion waited fifteen minutes for his drink, a Seven and Seven...

The food took so long to come out that even though we had allowed for an hour an a half to eat, and ordered from the pre-theater menu, we didn't have time to squeeze in the dessert course.

For the main dish, he had some very tasty salmon, and I enjoyed the "chicken on a brick," so that was nice.

Like I said, I'd go again, hopefully on a better night with better service.

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Heading to Zola tonight.  My last meal there was great, but it has been awhile so I'm curious to know if anyone has recent experiences to report.  If not, I'll be sure to post afterward.

Well? I may be dining at Zola in a couple of weeks and would love your report.

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Please forgive me. I didn't intend to nag. I actually will be dining at Zola this coming Sunday, and was hoping to get some idea of what to expect, what to order, and so forth. So I'll tell you what: I'll post comments on Zola myself, after I've dined there.

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swung through Zola pretty late last night for some food. The smoked mussell & corn chowder was good, as was the lobster roll. Lobster a tad overcooked but I couldn't be picky after almost eating my shoe while waiting for a table. The fondue was good as well however we happened to be at the table with a Veg head so they took the sausage out of it. I'd like to go back and try it again the way nature intended it to be made.....with the meat.

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swung through Zola pretty late last night for some food.  The smoked mussell & corn chowder was good, as was the lobster roll.  Lobster a tad overcooked but I couldn't be picky after almost eating my shoe while waiting for a table.  The fondue was good as well however we happened to be at the table with a Veg head so they took the sausage out of it.  I'd like to go back and try it again the way nature intended it to be made.....with the meat.

Wow, that sausage makes the fondue there, in my opinion! Too bad you missed it. Definitely make a return trip. Nothing like meat dipped in melted cheese...yum!
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My family is in town for a couple of days and will be at the Spy Museum tomorrow midday. I was planning to skip away from my desk for a bit to meet them for lunch somewhere and was wondering if Zola would be appropriate or not. Not sure if they'll be wearing jeans or shorts or what, but would they be out of place? Is it mostly suits in there for business lunches? If not Zola, what else in the area would work? All I can think of is Clyde's.

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My family is in town for a couple of days and will be at the Spy Museum tomorrow midday.  I was planning to skip away from my desk for a bit to meet them for lunch somewhere and was wondering if Zola would be appropriate or not.  Not sure if they'll be wearing jeans or shorts or what, but would they be out of place?  Is it mostly suits in there for business lunches?  If not Zola, what else in the area would work?  All I can think of is Clyde's.

Jaleo is right around the corner.

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I dined at Zola as planned on Sunday. I have to say, the place looks smashing. And some of the food was very good. I started with tuna tartare, which was topped by a nice, fresh-tasting dice of cucumber and accompanied with crisp taro chips. The whole dish was very nice, and beautifully presented. The main course, however, was trouble. It was chicken cooked under a brick (I forget the exact lingo on the menu), and the chicken itself was beyond excellent--beautiful crisp skin, and succulent, flavorful meat. Unfortunately, it was all but ruined by the gluey sauce it was doused with, which was so sweet it would have been more appropriate on pancakes. And surrounding the chicken was a really remarkable quantity of green beans so undercooked they were practically raw. My friend and I shared a basket of french fries, which are surely among the best in the city, just wonderful. Service was friendly and attentive without being intrusive: just right. On the other hand, dinner was as expensive as my previous night's dinner at Corduroy, and that included stuff like foie gras and lobster and Chateauneuf du Pape.

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Grover and I were on our way to the Kennedy Center for an evening of Beethoven and decided to try Zola's $29 Pre-Theater dinner. Dinner is an appetizer, a main and dessert.

Grover had the following:

Salad of Field Greens with caramelized orange, endive, cherry tomato and blood orange-honey vinaigrette. The greens were good but a bit tired. The endive was going bitter and wasn't as crisp as it should be.

Her entree was: Roasted Portobello and Fontina Herb Polenta Stack with eggplant caviar, basil oil and spicy virgin tomato sauce. This closely resembles a hamburger if you look at it the right way. The Portobello was very good but the Polenta seemed to be a forced fit. There were two Polenta "stacks" which totally overwhelmed the pleasant mushroom.

For dessert, she had: Creamsicle which is Mandarin orange and vanilla cream layered atop a ‘Nilla wafer crust with bitter chocolate sauce. This was very good and overcame some of the earlier shortcomings.

To drink, she had a Ginger Infused Lemonade. This she really enjoyed.

Now, I had the following: for an appetizer I had: Buttercrunch Bibb Greens with red onion marmalade, tomatoes and ice box buttermilk dressing. The dressing was great, the Bibb greens weren't particularly fresh (there were a number of brown edges on a majority of the greens). The red onion marmalade was a very nice touch but the tomatoes turned out to be one slice of tomato structured hockey puck. Now, I realize that at this time of the year anything that resembles a tomato is NOT going to taste like a tomato so I should have known better.

For my main course, I had: Broiled Salmon Filet with baby lima beans, puree of gold potatoes, sweet onions, rhubarb pickles and strawberry teriyaki. I never found any baby lima beans, the potatoes were whipped, to almost starch and the sweet onions were an interesting collection of Spanish onion cooked to the point of being rubber bands. The rhubarb pickles were one stalk of rhubarb and the strawberry teriyaki must have been the pinkish red sauce. The salmon however was cooked correctly and was very nice.

For dessert, I had: Lemon Chiffon Pudding with raspberries. The lemon pudding resembled those Betty Crocker Pudding cakes that were the rage of PTA dinners in the 70's but for all of that, was surprisingly tasty. The raspberries (4 of those little devils) had been in the cooler for a couple of days longer than they should have been.

The highlight of the entire meal was our server, Mohi who was there at all of the right times, made sure our drink orders were taken and delivered in a timely manner and in general was the best thing about dinner.

The cost for two $29 fixed price dinners, one glass of wine, one lemonade, and two coffees and DC tax was around $86.

Beethoven and Kurt Mazur were excellent. I highly recommend that combination if you get a chance to hear it.

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Given the weather prediction for the upcoming week it's time to revive this thread. Other than those mentioned (Hank's, Legal Seafood, Kinkead's), where else can one go for a good lobster roll? Is it still on Zola's menu?

I had the lobster roll at Zola recently and it was not nearly as good as it used to me, in my opinion. It is very small (I don't know where they get there small buns produced!). It had tons of mayo and other things in there that shouldn't be in a lobster roll (I'm a purist). And not enough lobster. Next time I go to Zola, I won't order it.

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Without planning, a friend and i found ourselves at Zola last night and took advantage of RW (had planned on skipping it all together this year). I was pleasantly surprised and would put it down as one of my best RW experiences.

I started with the tuna tartare......the chips were great, but the cilantro really overwhelmed the flavor of the tuna. My friend had the grilled flatbread, which had a deliciously peppery arugala and made for a nice contrast to the salmon and goat cheese.

I had the duck confit and she had the monkfish. The duck confit was a little sweeter than I had anticipated (cherry glaze), but not horrible. The monkfish was cooked perfectly and had a great combination with the sweet potato, bacon, and swiss chard. For dessert, I had the creamsicle and she had the peanut butter trifle. It was way too much food, but I'd go back for the peanut butter trifle---just the right balance of peanut and chocolate.

Surprisingly, there didn't seem to be upcharges for anything on the menu.

But as with anything, perhaps it's all about one's expectations!

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Are there any restrictions on their normal "pre-theater" $30 dinner? I remember someone on a Tom-chat a while back saying that some places only offer their "pre-theater" menu to people actually going to the "theater."

I just had the theater dinner a couple of weeks ago, and no one asked me where I was going.

Didn't zola recently get a new chef? I used to find the food bland and heavy, oversauced and made you feel kind of gross after dinner, but my recent visit showed a great improvement.

I had a nice composed butter lettuce salad. It was half a head of butter lettuce, with a chopped topping of gouda cheese, nuts and other stuff. The presentation made it a little hard to eat, but it was substantial without being heavy. We also ordered skate and bronzino, which were fresh, and not overly sauced.

Dessert had was a bit too rich, but the peanut butter parfait shows promise. (Banana mousse cake is too sweet for my tastes.)

Sadly, they took down the secret doorway to the bathrooms, which always made me feel a little hipper for it being there.

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Was hoping for a newer review myself. Considering going for RW as they're offering their full menu. Anyone?

i went to zola six months or so ago after the washington post did an article on restaurants that serve rabbit in the DC area. I am a big fan of rabbit, and the article came out on a wednesday, so i went the following tuesday for the pre-theater menu. there was no rabbit on the menu, and the waiter said it had been taken off due to lack of interest. i see now it is back on, but that colored my experience poorly. i did not particularly enjoy my first two courses (they were not memorable), but i did like the dessert, which was basil-based (i am a big fan of spice desserts). that dessert seems to no longer be on the menu, and i cannot speak to if it has gotten any better.

i have been there since, however, for the bar portion. the atmosphere is nice, though it can get quite crowded. but i did not enjoy any of three wines i ordered. also, i ordered the "fried rice" from the bar menu, which was fine if you were looking for a fried stick of sorts with an interesting texture (from the rice).

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Just got back from Restaurant Week at Zola. I had never been before and really liked the decor. A huge bonus is that the entire menu is available with no upcharges (and a la carte my meal would have totaled about $50).

Our amuse bouche was apparently their take on baba ganoush (sp) which was a little squirt of eggplant spread on crispy bread. Not much too it or a ton of flavor. I started with Hiramasa Tartar (grilled chorizo, jalapeno caramelized pineapple suds, crispy shallots) and this was probably my favorite dish of the night. An interesting presentation of a tuna tartar, the crispy shallots added an awesome texture on top, and the sauce surrounding it provided a nice kick and flavor.

My entree was truly underwhelming. I had the beef on the menu (from a local farm I believe, though I can't remember which) and I think the waiter said it was a tenderloin tonight. First of all, he only brought out a normal dinner knife for my entree and I had to flag him down to ask for a steak knife after I'd tried in vain to cut through a couple pieces of the steak. It certainly wasn't very tender, and was actually quite chewy. The "cheesy tater tots" served alongside reminded me somewhat of the new tot-like things at Hell-Burger (crispy on the outside and more like mashed potatoes inside). The bite I had of my friend's BBQ shrimp had a really nice flavor in the sauce, but neither friend was thoroughly happy with her entree.

Desserts were another standout (which made the entree mishap more disappointing). I had the Pumpkin Pecan Roll (brown sugar sour cream ice cream, chocolate sauce) and ate pretty much every bite. It was like a slice of traditional pumpkin roll that had been coated with a mixture of crushed pecans and sugar/cinnamon, and the cream cheese icing inside was scrumptous. The ice cream served along side was an excellent compliment but also great on its own.

All in all, I'm glad I tried Zola, but I'm also glad I tried it at RW. I'd perhaps come back to have a drink at the swanky bar and order a couple of apps, but I think I'd be hesitant to go for a full dinner at full price.

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One would think it impossible to make a dish whose components include lobster, fontina cheese, green onions, asparagus, and elbow pasta turn out completely flavorless. At Zola, the kitchen has...succeeded?...in accomplishing this feat. The Lobster Mac & Cheese $21 that I had for lunch today was amazing in that it was this heavy fat bomb of a dish but had none of the salty/buttery loveliness that you see in other such caloric concoctions. I was at a work meeting so I tried to limit my use of the the salt shaker so as not to look like a sodium addict, but after 3 separate rounds with it I just gave up and left more than half of it there.

Service, however, was excellent. The waitstaff might have been a little too attentive, to be honest, interrupting conversations on a few occasions to ask how everything was, but I will take that any day over them completely forgetting about you until it's time for the check.

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These types of closings are always interesting to me. The last time I was at Zola and Potenza, both within the last year, both were packed. So, in seeing that, I would assume that these places were still making good money. Thus, maybe the fact that the company no longer wanted to focus on restaurants is the real reason that they are closing down the spots.

Is that actually possible? Do restaurants really close because people just no longer want to run them? Or, is this just a better way of saying it than, "The restaurants just aren't doing that well?"

I guess that I am being too cynical here, but I liken this to sports coaches that retire to spend more time with their families, but they almost always go back to coaching because a great job opportunity comes along.

And, just to be clear, I am not trying to be an ass about this, I am just generally interested in why restaurants go out of business and what percentage is for this reason vs. not doing well vs. bad management, etc.

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Haven't a clue as to the reasons for Zola closing and being being bought out other than to observe if it was indeed bought out by another restaurant group, one would have to assume that there was a business decision involved, rather than a closing due to force majeure. I'm thinking the same is true in the case for Restaurant 3 in Arlington. Anyone know what the bartenders at Zola -- Ari and his brother Mica -- will be doing?

Slightly related -- I am expecting quite a lot of foam and churn in the restaurant business in this area if the sequestration kicks in for real

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These types of closings are always interesting to me. The last time I was at Zola and Potenza, both within the last year, both were packed. So, in seeing that, I would assume that these places were still making good money. Thus, maybe the fact that the company no longer wanted to focus on restaurants is the real reason that they are closing down the spots.

Is that actually possible? Do restaurants really close because people just no longer want to run them? Or, is this just a better way of saying it than, "The restaurants just aren't doing that well?"

I guess that I am being too cynical here, but I liken this to sports coaches that retire to spend more time with their families, but they almost always go back to coaching because a great job opportunity comes along.

And, just to be clear, I am not trying to be an ass about this, I am just generally interested in why restaurants go out of business and what percentage is for this reason vs. not doing well vs. bad management, etc.

Jeff Black here. Sometimes ( most times) when restuarants fail it happens before the first meal is served. Just seeing a busy dinning room does not mean they are making money, there is a lot more to it. I don't know this group's dynamics and I am sure we will probably never no the whole story.

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So sad that Zola is closing, I enjoyed my meal there. It's attached to the Spy Museum, but I don't think they ever were able to profit off of that location since it was probably too expensive and not kid-friendly for those attending the Spy Museum.

When I went there (March 2011) it was absolutely empty inside, but I know they were doing some PR outreach.

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I didn't see a topic on Zola, so since Rockwell has indicated he wants a thread on all the restaurants in DC (that's quite a goal) I thought I'd start one.

:)

(And you were the second person ever to mention me in the media, and I still haven't forgotten.)

As to the person with the first mention (which I also haven't forgotten), Tom just broke the news today that Minibar will be reopening in the old Zola space (*) on November 2nd.

(*) Tom's latest pet peeve is the use of "veggies" - I'd like to throw "space" in the ring as well. What's a better word, "location?" Using "space" in a conversation among non-restaurant people is sort of like saying "deuce" for a two-top table for two.

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