Over the past couple of years, a number of restaurants have sprung up along the Lake St. corridor in Addison, IL not far from the Hampton Inn and Suites that I like to stay at. One of those opened about a year and a half ago and I've been intrigued by the name - ZaZa's Italian Steakhouse.
This is the third ZaZa's restaurant that has been opened by owner Dino Sisto. Sisto's first restaurant - La Zaza Trattoria - has been in business since the mid-90's in suburban St. Charles, IL; and he opened ZaZa's Italian Steakhouse in far western suburban Sycamore not long after that. Sisto closed the Sycamore location not long after he opened the Addison location.
ZaZa's Italian Steakhouse in Addison is a fairly classy looking place. It's very similar to a number of classic steakhouses, dim lights, lots of dark wood paneling, a very comfortable atmosphere. As I was eating alone that evening I thought I'd do the bar thing again. I was happy to see they had Bell's Pale Ale in one of the glass refrigerators behind the bar.
The bartender's name was Elena and she told me that she was originally from Lithuania. She had a heavy accent, but she was very nice and very attentive.
The menu at ZaZa's was wide and varied. Steak and pasta were their specialties, Elena told me. I'd had steak the night before so I was looking at the pasta.
I did have Elena give me the wine list to look through. It was impressive enough, especially with the long list of Italian wines they had available. But I was more in the mood for some beer that evening, so I enjoyed my Bell's Pale Ale (which, by the way, will no longer be available in Illinois).
I ended up ordering the penne abruzzese - penne pasta with homemade Italian sausage in a spicy marinara sauce. That just sounded great. But I was also looking for a salad and they don't really have small dinner salads at ZaZa's.
They did have a small Caesar's salad that you could order, but I wasn't up for a Caesar's salad. I ordered one of the Insalata alla ZaZa - romaine lettuce with Kalamata olives in a homemade vinaigrette with bleu cheese chunks. It was $7.95 and I was certain it would be too much to eat.
And it was. Elena brought out a huge bowl of salad. She sat it in front of me and I just sat there for a second before I finally said, "Wow! That is going to be too much."
But I made a great effort at doing so. It was very good. The pasta was cooked perfect, the marinara sauce had the right amount of spiciness to it and the homemade Italian sausage was some of the best I'd ever had. And the amount of sausage they had in the dish was very ample.
I had three Bell's Pale Ales, and with the salad, dinner and a nice tip for Elena, the total bill came to about $42.00. It was too much food, but what there was of it, it was good. I'll definitely be back sometime soon.