Cafe ZuZu

By Dena Roché

Cafe ZuZu

Growing up, Hotel Valley Ho owner Scott Lyon’s children affectionately called their grandma “ZuZu”. Today Café ZuZu is a tribute to their ZuZu, and great cooking granny’s everywhere.

Back in the 1950s the neighborhood grill was an important part of life in the Southwest. Today, Café ZuZu is a homage to the soul-satisfying goodness of a home cooked meal.

Chef Russell Lacase may not look like your ZuZu, but he’s certainly adept at elevating traditional, comfort food recipes for the modern palate.

During a recent dinner, my friend and I started out the meal sharing the Maine lobster roll appetizers. This classic dish served on Parker House buns had a surprise twist of tiny potato chips in the open-faced roll giving the dish great texture.

For the main course we continued the pescatarian feast, trying two seafood dishes. The seared diver scallops were perfectly cooked with flavors enhanced by fried Meyer lemon and a shellfish butter sauce. The Israeli couscous and asparagus were great compliments. Scottish Salmon, expertly cooked and paired with a healthy fennel and orange salad and herbed carrot puree was a great lighter choice during holiday eating season.

And more importantly, our healthy choices throughout the evening meant we could splurge on dessert, deciding to split the retro Baked Alaska; almond cake, roasted pineapple and cherry sorbet all covered in a thick layer of incredible toasted meringue goodness. The Troubled German Chocolate Cake should be tried for the name alone, not to mention that it's a chocolate sponge cake with German chocolate filling, graham pretzel crust and espresso cheesecake topped with a buttercream ganache. Clearly, the German is troubled by the amount of calories consumed after this sweet treat!

In addition to neighborhood dining seven days a week, Café ZuZu hosts a monthly Monday night Chef’s Table. Each event features a specially paired wine or spirits four-course dinner where guests enjoy the food, drink and conversation with Chef Lacase and the featured beverage guest.