I grew up in Rochester, MN. Every time I come home to visit, I am so excited to see what’s new and see how my sweet little hometown has grown in the food scene. When my Mom told me about ZZest, I was intrigued by how unique it sounded for a Rochester restaurant.
ZZest is located on the south side of Rochester, MN right across from Apache Mall. You wouldn’t think that this busy location could feel like a cozy little nook, but it does. The first thing I noticed about ZZest was that they have an open kitchen! I love being able to sit and watch the magic unfold. Win! Although the space is intimate, they do a great job of dividing up the seating areas so it feels like there’s plenty of room to sit. You can sit in the bar area to the left or you can sit in the open kitchen area to the right. Joining the two areas in the back is a specialty cheese counter, which is how this place originally got started. I like this visual connection into their history – it almost feels like the ‘hub’ of the restaurant.
The menu is inventive and different. In order of appearance, the food I shot was their Sea Scallops with a cinnamon crust, popcorn puree, n’duja sausage and orange, their House Pulled Mozzarella with lamb sausage, hazelnut pickled salsify and turkish curry vinaigrette and their Parsnip Cheesecake with strawberry, mint, yuzu lemon and kiwi. Is your mouth watering yet?
Whether you’re living in or visiting Rochester, make a point to check this place out. I’m looking very forward to coming back this summer where I’m going to sit on their outdoor patio with a ‘build your own’ cheese board and glass of wine… or two.
All Images © Regan Baroni 2016.