A couple of weekends ago, I was looking for a place to book for dinner in the Manchester, NH area. Since it was actually New Year’s Day, the selection of restaurants was somewhat limited, and I ended up booking a reservation at Z, a relatively new bistro on Elm Street. While Google has some decent reviews of the place, I really knew nothing about it, and I was quite pleasantly surprised at the overall high quality of the experience.
The menu at Z is a nice happy medium between overly simplistic and limited bistro menus and the ridiculously over-the-top tomes offered in Manchester’s stuffier high-end eateries. What’s really cool about the place is that some of the dishes that sound mediocre at best are actually surprisingly good. For example, we ordered some Asian Nachos for the table, curious about the taste but not overwhelmingly optimistic about how good they’d be. Despite our reservations, the nachos, which are billed as “crisp won tons, grilled chicken, jack cheese, sesame peanut sauce, wasabi sour cream, daikon sprouts,” actually worked as a tasty appetizer, not just as an item that was unique or intentionally different.
Since it was a holiday, the restaurant was out of Top Sirloin, which two of us had ordered. The server was glad to bring us the sides that were served with that dish, however, including the Yukon gold mashed potatoes, which were absolutely delicious. In fact, the food that was delivered to the table was so good that I’ll be planning a return trip, just to try the sirloin.
It’s worth a note about the ambiance: for a trendy and relatively swanky place, Z didn’t have overwhelming or annoying dance music blasting; instead, there was a jazz pianist playing live music throughout the evening, at a reasonable volume level. All in all, this is the kind of place that appeals to a wide demographic of diners, and everything from the lighting to the service was pleasant and made me want to go back. I feel lucky that the first couple of restaurants that I called for a reservation were closed, or I might never have found Z.