Zed 451 | River North | Steaks/Lobster, Latin American, Global/Fusion/Eclectic | Restaurant
All-you-can-eat-meat-on-a-blade in the former Sal & Carvao.

Our Review

The Orlando investment firm that snapped up Sal & Carvao three years ago must have known there were enough knickered "gauchos" scampering around River North’s Brazilian-themed feeding factories to occupy a flattened rain forest. But it also knew that the all-you-can-eat-meat-on-a-blade concept still has juice, especially if marketed to Sex and the City wannabes who don’t care as much about eating as about being seen in the right place eating. I was no fan of Sal & Carvao, but I don’t remember feeling as bla­tantly manipulated there as at its replace­ment, Zed 451. The game began the instant we approached the host stand and were directed into a holding pattern in the bar, where we were free to order weak pours at stiff prices before finally being per­mit­ted to feed at one of several long-available tables. In the dining room, the Brazil-on-Disney shtick and the simple, reasonably palatable flame-roasted meats have been replaced with white-coated "chefs" who table-shave a less beef-centric variety of proteins gussied up with global-fusiony marinades and accents, such as bricks of Parmesan-crusted pork loin, citrus salmon, and mango mahi­mahi. The "Harvest-Table" is laden with salads and vegetable dishes in enough sugary dressings to accom­modate heroin withdrawal (bok choy with orange-chile glaze, sweet potatoes with ginger maple syrup, etc), and if the trio of "artisan cheeses" was any less industrial than supermarket deli-case varieties, I’ll go bag groceries at Jewel. This is the human counterpart to confined animal feeding operations, the industrial meat (and shit) factories that supply the sort of unexceptional product served here.

Mike Sula

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Price: $$$$$
Payment Type: American Express, Discover, MasterCard, Visa

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