Austin >Restaurants > Zoot
509 Hearn St, Austin, TX | Directions 7870330.278881 -97.772589
Tuesday To Sunday From 06:00 PM To 10:00 PM
Neighborhoods: General West Austin, West Austin
Skip it, head over to Wink instead. – My husband and I have been to Wink (sister restaurant) several times and thoroughly enjoyed it. So after after hearing many good things about Zoot, decided to try it for my birthday. Our waiter was a bit scatterbrained in several areas-i.e. he knocked over a wine bucket near us, dropped several things (utensils, menu, etc) while serving us, and generally gave us rush feeling. Also, even though it was a nice touch that the menu clearly stated Happy Birthday as we were leaving, he told us Happy Anniversary! At Wink, we have always gotten better service and Mark even knows our name when enter and leave. Also, we thought the food was below avg and definatly not as good as Wink or other restaurants at this price point. They ran out of "good bread" and served us the cut up french bread and one of the appetizers (the Sheppard's Pie) was barely edible and not quite as described on the menu...we barely touched it, but our waiter did not even ask. I was sick to my stomach the next day...I hate to say it, but I think it might have even been something Iate here. The last point, even though the restaurant is larger and tables are more space apart, we still found it loud.
Friendly service, excellent food – My husband and I ate at Zoot on a Wednesday evening when it was about half full. It has a peaceful atmosphere, and the tables are arranged with a high enough central division to the room to create a nice feeling of privacy. We had no delays with service, which was friendly and helpful when we had some questions about the choices. Although the wine list is short, it has good quality. We happened to find a couple of favourites of ours, and we liked the option to have several wines by the glass, rather than buy one bottle. We loved the food we ordered- fois gras, scallops to start; a smoked tomato soup which had an amazing aroma, and continued through the whole delightful dish. Our mains of tenderloin, and of snapper were perfectly prepared, and beautifully presented. The ingredients tasted extremely fresh and were prepared in a delicate manner which really worked. Desserts were yummy too. We had a really enjoyable evening at Zoot, and look forward to returning soon. We felt the prices were good value too.
Zoot delivers – I recently went to zoot and found the service as well as the food to be excellent. I found the portions to be quite satisfying and actually my wifes lamb could have fed a small family. We actually felt the portions rather big and had no room for dessert. The wine list was a little sparse and we would have preferred to have a better selection. The salads were excellent, my wifes lamb was cooked perfectly and the scallop appetizer was fantastic. The service was knowledgable and friendly, not stuffy. We had a great time and think zoot is a hidden gem.
Excellent Food! Average Service – My husband and I went to ZOOT last evening for our wedding anniversary. As a former server of an upscale restaurant in Washington, DC I am always in tune to the DETAILS of the entire dining experience. When we were seated the hostess/server (yes, she was both- confusing?) didn't have dinner menus printed out so we sat staring at the wine list for what seemed like 5+min. It wouldn't have been an issue to wait for the menus if we had been offered a cocktail right away and were brought some water and rolls but we just sat there empty handed before being brought the menus.
Once we were brought the menus we were then offered a cocktail. We ordered a bottle of sparkling Italian wine. The hostess/server was very pleasant and congratulated us on our anniversary. She brought us the wine but we still had no water, no rolls, etc. After she poured us our wine she did come fill our water glasses. At that point I noticed everyone else had been served rolls so I asked if she could please bring us some bread.
After a very slow start to dinner service....once we did receive our food it was well worth the wait and very tasty! We did the 3 course menu for $50. My husband ordered foie gras, cucumber soup, lamb. I ordered the shrimp (was brought scallops instead but mmmmm they were delicious!!!), spinach salad, and red snapper. Everything was cooked and flavored perfectly. So KUDOS to the Chef! For dessert we ordered the strawberry basil ice cream sundae and the flourless chocolate cake. Both were delicious. Is it CHEESY to think that we would've been given a free dessert for our anniversary (special occasion)?
In conclusion, I would recommend this restaurant based on the quality of the food, cosy romantic atmosphere, but not on service. Our server was very pleasant but there was definitely a disconnect between the quality of food and lack of expeditious service.
Worst. Service. Ever. – The atmosphere is great, unfortuntaley, the service is the polar opposite. The staff seems put out if the clientele bothers them for things like more water or asking why the food is taking two hours to come out of the kitchen. When the food did finally come out, it was in a tapas portion. The prices are ridiculous for what you get. The food is good, but not good enough to make me want to return. Not recommended.
Tiny portions of food for BIG bucks – I ate at Zoot for my first time last evening. We had reservations for a party of nine and were seated promptly. We had a choice between a la cart dining or a three course meal for $50. I wanted the three course meal but was told that everyone at the table must order it. Not everyone was as hungry as I was, so we ordered entrees. I started with the parsnip soup, which tasted like warm milk. The square rolls they serve were soft and delciious. For an entree, I ordered red snapper and was very disappointed that it took over an hour to get to the table. Once it arrived, it was flavorless and overcooked. I have never returned food and was very embarassed to do so, but my dinner was not edible. The waitress very graciously exchanged my entree, making me think other people have returned this dish as well.. I sat patiently waiting for the manager or chef to come over and ask why I didn't enjoy my meal, but no one ever appraoched me. The 3 ounces of NY strip steak was delicious, although I could have done without the raspberry sauce and undercooked mushroom quiche that accompanied it. Afterwards, I went the unisex bathroom, disgusted to find that the man who used it before me, urinated all over the floor and my shoes were sticky. If you have two bathrooms, please make one for women and the other for men. We finished our three hour meal with coffee and left after spending $110. I left feeling hungry and robbed. If you like spending lots of money on pretentious tiny portions of less than average food, then this is the place for you. Otherwise, I suggest you try a better restaurant because Austin has plently of them.
Exceptionally overrated – After having heard and read many great reviews of this Austin eatery, 6 friends decided to give it a try last night. Having waited 15 minutes for our already reserved table we said no big deal. Can't blame the party before us for the delay. The hostess came out and apologized. However 30 minutes into waiting we went in to inquire and were briskly walked out. 40 minutes into waiting outside we were asked to come in and were seated.
The place has a nice, intimate ambiance with simple arrangements. We all promptly placed our drinks and dinner selections. Approximately 50 minutes after having placed our order, our food arrived. Much to our dismay, the servings were "spare." Not a big deal again at this point hoping the exquisite flavors would make up for everything. I ordered the red snapper along with two other people at my table. It was ridiculously salty and the skin was limp.
Overall from the time we were seated to the time we departed, the experience was incredibly disappointing. From a service standpoint, having graciously waited 40 minutes, the least the restaurant could have offered was a complimentary appetizer or even some wine tasting as we stood outside the restaurant. From a culinary perspective, the food was under par. I have never felt so disappointed in having dished out $55 for a small cut of salty fish and some chardonnay. If it hadn't been for the two bread rolls and butter, i would have headed straight to another eatery.
The only thing going on for this place is the reputation that precedes it in some Austin circles, the trendiness of its location and the quaint, simple decor.
Other dishes ordered at the table:
- Sweet potato soup
I can speak for the entire party and say the experience overall was disappointing for everyone in attendance.
A creative, seasonal menu serve this revamped dining star well. – In Short
Stewart Scruggs and Mark Paul of Wink bought Zoot in 2003, updating the interior and menu. The converted house has sophisticated decor, including soft lighting, frosted glass and walls in gray and red tones. This helps the menu's colorful, creative and subtly flavored dishes stand out. Appetizer roasted artichoke bottom features ratatouille garnish that's fresh with just-spicy-enough herbs. Roasted, succulent pork tenderloin slices lay atop a bed of mild, creamy, parsnip-potato mousse; sweet-and-sour cherry demi-glace enhances rich meat.
6 mos – We got the tasting menus and the meal was very enjoyable. I got the Farmer's Market. The cold potato leek soup was very refreshing; the salad- perfect; the gnocchi amazing. Flavors were blended with the perfect amount of everything. To top it off, the cheese dessert plate is fun when you have someone to share it with. The key-lime tart in a strawberry sauce was just the perfect amount of sweetness. I don't usually like tarts because they are too sweet and heavy, but this was light with a touch of sweetness and very refreshing. And if you're a chocolate lover, get the chocolate cake. You can never go wrong with that. The staff was very amiable and I would go back any time.
A Week Between Visits Feels Like Too Long – My wife and I recently returned to Zoot after some time away. We're longtime fans of the cozy little restaurant, but this time around we had our best experience yet.
Start to finish, dinner was serene. Flavors were perfectly balanced; I'd return just for the flawless tomato soup in a heartbeat, but everything from the plump scallops to the creme caramel knocked our socks off. Each of the waiter's wine pairings complemented the food beautifully. Attentive but never too fussy, the service heightened an already excellent experience.
After a week of eating well in Manhattan, we weren't sure what to expect from Zoot. But dinner didn't just exceed our expectations: it rivaled the best meals we had in New York. Our only regret is that we skipped the vegetarian tasting menu (they use organic produce from Boggy Creek, our favorite local farm). But then, that's what return visits are for.
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