12/30/2011 05:05AM, Published by Style, Categories: In Print
Photo by Dante Fontana
"Everyday Gourmet Cuisine” is the tagline for Cameron Park’s ZacJack Bistro, which hit the local food scene this past year at the home of the former Redbud Café.
ZacJack touts casual prices, yet the menu scores way above average. Brought to town by the owners of the highly-acclaimed Zachary Jacques Restaurant in Placerville, this sister establishment is a haven for those seeking high-quality, yet unintimidating California cuisine, carefully constructed by Le Cordon Bleu-trained chef and co-owner Jack Evans.
Eager for a new culinary experience and filled with anticipation, my wife and I stopped in on a blustery Monday evening. Warmed by the wood-fired oven dominating the kitchen, we noted the modern furnishings and oil paintings dotting the interior. After taking our seats, it was time to get down to business.
We started with a trio of delicious house-made sausages – venison, lamb and wild boar – served with toasted slices of baguette and a surprise treat, battered and fried gherkins. As a lover of mustard, the mild and German-style varieties served alongside were truly exceptional. Moving on with taste buds craving more, I enjoyed the Boneless Short Rib served with a red wine reduction. The meat was cooked sous vide, a method that renders a typically tough cut extraordinarily tender and flavorful. It was easily one of my favorite short rib experiences. My wife went with their incredible signature burger – a half-pound patty of fresh ground California Kobe beef on a house-made-daily French roll. The toppings of onion confit, tomato confit and Gruyere cheese seemed like soul mates for the ultra-flavorful meat.
Dessert at ZacJack is Gateau Saint Honoré, a delightful pastry dressed in several different ways. We opted for the bananas foster variant. The pâte à choux (pastry) was light and crisp with a chewy center, the caramel was sublime, and the freshly whipped cream pulled everything together with just the right note of sweetness.
In short, ZacJack bridges the gap between casual and fine dining, bringing exquisite fare to a weeknight-accessible setting.
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