Steppin’ Out – ZacJack Bistro: Everyday Gourmet Cuisine

zacjackI was surprised to find out that my friend Russ Salazar had never been to ZacJack Bistro in Cameron Park. So, last week we decided to meet there for early lunch and see what interesting dishes Chef John Evans and his able assistants had come up with. I am often a bit scared to take someone to a place I really like, but everything turned out fantastic.

ZacJack Bistro is located at 3275 Coach Lane, so you get off at Cameron Park Drive, head south and turn right onto Coach Lane. You’ll find it, Salazar almost did.

We were delightfully greeted and seated at a nice table by the window. Our server asked about drinks (they are supposed to ask you about water due to the drought). I stuck with water and Salazar chose iced tea.

After looking over the menu, we decided to try the $6.99 lunch special and one of their famous French sandwiches called a Croque.

The special was an American Kobe beef meatball sandwich on a freshly baked bun with marinara sauce and Provolone cheese. It came with a small Caesar salad.

The Croque we were going to try was the one made with their amazingly tender and delicious braised short ribs, shredded and served with melted Provolone cheese on grilled sourdough bread. Instead, at the server’s recommendation, we selected her favorite, the Shrimp Remoulade Croque which consisted of sourdough bread, lightly buttered and grilled, and served with shrimp, melted Havarti cheese, fresh avocado and tomato. It came with fresh, house-cut fries (the kind with skin on them).
We had both sandwiches cut in half so we could share them.

I wish I had a picture of it, because when Salazar picked up the shrimp croque and took a bite, an amazing smile came to his face. “I love this,” he said. “It is delicious and how did they keep the shrimp from sliding out?” Adding, “The bread is crisp.”

I think he savored that half sandwich for about 20 minutes.

I agreed with his comments, it was an outstanding sandwich with a wonderful combination of textures and flavors.

The meatball sandwich was also very good. I especially liked the flavor of the freshly baked bun and the meat, along with the marinara sauce, which was not overpowering. Salazar liked it because the sauce was not heavy and seemed to be beaten or, in his words, “fluffy.”

I really liked the Caesar salad and the fries were hot, crisp and delicious. I even tried the fries with some of their homemade catsup. Salazar said the thought the salad was a bit overdressed and, although he doesn’t eat many fries, he kept re-sampling them.

For lunch ZacJack Bistro also serves a few small plates like Shrimp Macaroni and Cheese (we were tempted), a stuffed artichoke and a cheeseboard. They serve a Soup du Jour (they were starting to make gazpacho when we were there) and a French Onion soup. There are also several gourmet salads to which you can add anchovies, chicken breast, salmon or steak.

There are five different burgers on the menu; the French Burger, the Bleu Burger, the El Dorado Burger, the Mushroom Burger and the Clown Burger, all made with freshly ground, American Kobe beef.

In addition to the two Croques I mentioned, they also have a Mushroom Ragout Croque and a Smoked Salmon BLT, all also available as a half sandwich with soup or salad..

Finally, fresh from their flaming pizza oven, you can try their Four Cheese Pizza, Vegetable Pizza or Bacon, Pepperoni and Prosciuto pizza, available on regular or gluten free crust.

I don’t have room to write much about their breakfast or dinner items (many of which I have tried and loved), so maybe we will go back and try them for breakfast on a weekend or dinner one evening and get back to you. Those menus look equally impressive.

ZacJack Bistro is open Tuesday through Thursday from 11 a.m. until 8:30 p.m.. on Friday from 11 until 9:30, Saturday from 8 a.m. until 9:30 and on Sunday from 8 until 8. Closed on Monday.

For more information call (530) 676-2969, You can also check out their menu, etc., at their webpage zacjack.com.

Oh, how do they keep the shrimp in the sandwich and not on your lap? It is the melted cheese that keeps them in place.

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