July 03, 2012
Zoës Kitchen offers a Mediterranean-inspired menu, with a few American and southern favorites thrown in. So if hummus and pitas aren’t your thing there’s still plenty to choose from at lunch or dinner.
The new eatery in Perkins Rowe is bright and airy, with walls boldly painted in stripes of green, orange, red and brown. Floor-to-ceiling windows on two sides give ample views of the foot and car traffic within the shopping, dining and living complex. Zoës is informal, with diners ordering at the counter, and servers bringing the orders to the tables. Guests fill their own drink cups at the fountain, and grab straws, utensils and napkins nearby.
Zoës was quite busy during a recent Friday lunch hour. We found an empty table next to a group which included LSU baseball coach Paul Manieri.
A guest tried the chicken salad and fruit plate ($8.29), which she thought was a really nice choice on a warm, sultry Baton Rouge day and perfect for those trying to eat a little more on the healthy side. There were plentiful chunks of apples, watermelon, orange bits, and red grapes over a bed of greens with a large scoop of chunky chicken salad in the middle. As a chicken salad fan, she was looking for nice-sized chicken pieces and not too much mayonnaise. It delivered on both counts. The red grapes provided a nice flavor enhancement to the chicken salad. Small pita slices accompanied the dish.
The grﾟben ($7.19) is one of Zoës’ grilled sandwiches and is a lighter, probably better-for-you version of the reuben sandwich. On this version, grilled turkey takes the place of corned beef brisket and cole slaw takes the place of sauerkraut. The sandwich is dressed with crumbled Swiss cheese and spicy mustard, and served on grilled rye bread. The sandwich was delicious (and easier to manage than the classic reuben).
All sandwiches included a side dish. One of seven choices, the potato salad mixed baby red potatoes and chopped green onions. It was light and simple-made without mayonnaise-but a little more seasoning on the potatoes would have been welcome.
Another guest chose the chicken roll-ups ($7.49). These were four toasted and rolled tortillas cut diagonally to reveal fresh lettuce, tomato, caramelized onions, chunks of grilled chicken and crumbled feta cheese. A well-done, tasty entrée, this made a perfect choice for a light lunch.
The hummus chosen for a side item had a creamy texture and we liked it better than that served at many Greek restaurants. It was served with pita bread slices.
A southern favorite, the pimento cheese sandwich ($7.19) also was served on rye bread and featured a generous amount of traditional, creamy pimento cheese garnished with shredded lettuce and tomato slices. I have tried this type of sandwich at other places and think I’ve found a new favorite. My side dish choice was braised white beans. The beans were cooked to tenderness in a flavorful broth and sprinkled with a nontraditional ingredient for southern beans -rosemary - which I enjoyed.
The restaurant attracts not just shoppers, but workers from nearby offices. It’s a place that seems to stay busy all the time, but that one can easily get in and out of in an hour. The young wait staff was friendly and efficient.