I will rank tonight’s family dinner among the top of the list. My mom chose Zelko Bistro in the Heights and it did not disappoint.
It is a fairly small establishment but there was a small parking lot behind the restaurant and plenty of room to park on the street, which was convenient enough. It is an old converted house that probably sits about 50 people max inside. But, they also have a pretty good size covered patio area for some extra space. They do not take reservations and I wouldn’t suggest going with more than four people.
On first impression, the tight space between tables kind of turned me off but after being seated and taking in my surroundings I realized that the atmosphere was neighborly. Looking around I saw people who were genuinely enjoying themselves, in food and company. Although some may view the tight seating as a con, I think the intimate atmosphere added significantly to the experience.
After reading through many delicious sounding dishes on the menu I was having trouble choosing between the fish tacos, the blue crab cake or the shrimp and grits. Ultimately, I decided on the fish tacos because they came topped with queso fresco and mango salsa with a side of fried plantains. My mom ordered the Captin’s chicken and Billy ordered the Rueben sandwich with parmesan fries. We decided to take the advice of some Yelp reviews and ordered the fried pickles to start. They came in a deceiving bowl that seemed kind of small but ended up being more than plenty. The pickles weren’t chips, but mini halves that were piping hot, salty and crunchy with a refreshing homemade ranch dip. The food was all very fresh and flavorful. We had to save room for dessert because their options seemed too good to pass up, so we ordered the lemon icebox cake. It was the perfect creamy, tangy finish to the meal.
Typically when I hear “bistro” I think of high-end prices for less-than-filling plates. This was not the case at Zelko; the serving sizes were not overwhelming but certainly not stingy.
The wait staff was friendly and we even got to speak to the owner for a bit, who was also very sweet. Although we didn’t take advantage of their great wine selection and pairing, Zelko is definitely a place I’d recommend to any fellow foodie.
It seems as though they change the menu seasonally, but I will definitely be back to try some of their other menu items. Too bad the boyfriend is currently 1,400 miles away because this is a perfect place for a date! Overall, 4.5 stars in my book!