I struggled with whether or not to write this review. I usually love sharing all the glorious details of Louisville cuisine with everyone who will listen to my blathering; but Zanzabar is my "home bar" and seeing it overrun with foodies seeking the latest and greatest bite would probably kill me. What can I say, I'm selfish. I can no longer keep my mouth shut however, so I'll tell you a secret. The food at Zanzabar is AMAZING. Affordable, creative, fantastic and succulent bar food from the little place with all the pinball machines and the checkerboard floor—who knew?
I know, I know, Zbar is known more for their crazy weekend dance party than for anything else, but bear with me. The small menu at Zanzabar is consistently excellent, offering choices like a hot brown mac n' cheese skillet, or a chorizo laced beer cheese appetizer. The menu is annoying laden with “z” words, but I can forgive them this literary indiscretion. My favorite zbar indulgence is their hamburger cooked to order, with an over easy egg, cheddar cheese and a side of cracked red pepper garlic aioli. Be still my throbbing heart and my clogging aorti; that one of delectable hunk of meat. Also utterly remarkable is the squishy bourbon bread pudding from Nord's bakery right down the road. Eating this dessert is almost a sexual experience: scooping the dripping hunks of bourbon glaze-soaked bread out of a pool of melting vanilla ice cream and popping them into your eager mouth.
Service is a tad slow, but so worth it. Portion size is giant, and the weeknight atmosphere at Z is far from the phrenetic, pulsating chaos you find there on a weekend. Only reveal the secret of the food to your nearest and dearest, though, I don't want to have to wait any longer for my eggburger.
Photos: Elizabeth Orrick