“Free food??? I’m there!!!” This was my reply when I got the invite from my good friend at the Burnham hotel for one of the pre-grand openings of the stylish restaurant/bar and lounge, Zed 451.
Located in the heart of the River North part of downtown, Zed 451 has a very busy atmosphere from the moment you walk through the door. There are several rooms inside, both upstairs and downstairs bustling with hosts and hostesses, servers and patrons. The eye-catching wood decor gives you a warm, inviting feeling with several large fireplaces…almost like you’re stepping into a huge ski lodge. The first room you see is the bar and lounge with it’s cool intimate lighting and music…great place to unwind after a hard days work. A huge wine storage area partially fills the space with an assortment of wines from all over the world.
The main dining area was overwhelming with the surrounding all-you-can-eat harvest bars that included the freshest of food items including: cheeses, soups, salads, and fruits. If you’re not careful, you can easily fill up quick in this area and not have enough room for the main course.
After nibbling on a few appetizers from the Harvest Bar, it was time for the real deal. The main course set up at Zed 451 is very similar to Fogo De Chao. Instead of a red and green coaster, you place a stone on your table to alert the chefs that you are ready to eat. One by one they start to bring several meat, fish, and poultry selections for you to choose from until you can’t eat another bite.
Far be it for me to be the restaurant critic – not to mention that beggars can’t be choosy – but I have to be honest and say I was a tad bit underwhelmed by some of the food. With the exception of the chimichurri chicken wings and the citrus-glazed salmon, a lot of the steak portions left a little to be desired. Perhaps it was me being greedy, but the portions didn’t come as frequent as I would have hoped, and the near nail in the coffin was the restaurant running out of the chocolate desserts.
All in all, my experience at Zed 451 was good and the staff was very friendly and attentive. For a new hotspot, I would definitely recommend and give it another try.