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Review: Zest & Zing

On the menu: salmon, mango chili sauce, mashed potatoes and green beans.

Years ago I gave a weekend party to celebrate an especially prolific crop of mangoes. I dubbed it “Mango Madness Weekend.”

There one of my British guests introduced me to a new term for one of the mango drinks I prepared that she was thoroughly enjoying. She said it was a “creeper.” When I pressed her for the meaning, she politely explained that while the drink was delicious and smooth going down, it had the potential to present a huge kick as time went by as it contained a small bit of Jamaican rum.

When I visited , I spied the salmon with mango chili sauce on the menu ($10.75). Perhaps I felt a bit homesick for fresh mangoes from my time in the Caribbean or maybe I was scouring the menu for something different or both.

Nevertheless, I was quite pleased with the grilled salmon and the mango-chili salsa. The fish was expertly grilled to my specifications, and the salsa was a delightful mélange of soft, delicious mangoes, tomatoes and just the right amount of chili pepper.

The “Main Event” included two sides. I chose the mashed potatoes and green beans, which were unremarkable. I wasn’t particularly motivated by the other choices of sides, many of which were fried and lacked a creative spin. A small house salad as a choice for one of the sides would have been preferable, but not available.

The restaurant is touted as a dine-in cafe and purveyor of prepared foods to go. The menu includes eight, basically standard, non-fussy entrees like meatloaf, chicken breast Parmesan, country fried steak, fried chicken, spare ribs and the like.

There are nine different “tried and true” type sandwich offerings like chicken salad club, ham & Swiss, turkey club and BLT. I was disappointed that the drink selection included many soft drinks commonly found at convenience stores. More enticing choices could have been some of Atlanta’s own private ones like Red Rock Golden Ginger Ale and other unique micro-soft drinks.

On Sundays between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m., brunch is served with standard fare offerings including omelets, pancakes, eggs Benedict, corned beef hash and eggs. But, I am told the Crème Brûlée French Toast is “out of this world” so, I am willing to return and check this out. Stay tuned.

The owners plan to offer picnic baskets during the summer months to customers as a lovely way to enjoy activities at across the street. I think the idea is a brilliant one as long as the picnic menu is a cut above what one can obtain at any other deli.

As new restaurants go, a willingness to develop a good reputation is prime directive. Zest & Zing just might be a “creeper,” but from my vantage point, the overall concept needs a bit of heft.

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