I immediately felt relaxed walking in Zelko Bistro (named for 1/2 of the ownership -- Executive Chef Jamie Zelko. The other half is Jeb Stuart). The 1920's bungalow in The Heights is light and airy. With a simple interior, the restaurant is small and intimate. Lots of wood, including a vaulted ceiling lined with old planks of wood.
The menu provided many enticing choices. American Fare with a fun twist. We started with the Fried Pickles ($6). They were fabulous. Crisp pickles. Flavorful. Lightly breaded. Non-greasy. Topped with Parmesan cheese. They were Deeeee-vine!
For my Entree, I ordered the Captain Fried Chicken ($15) -- so named because Captain Crunch cereal is crushed and used as part of the crusting. Zelko Bistro is known for this dish, so my expectations were pretty high. It was good. The chicken was immensely moist and tender. The outside was super crisp. Surprisingly, with the Captain Crunch coating, no sweetness at all.
The chicken came with perfectly cooked (crisp tender) green beans and Yukon mashed potatoes. The potatoes were the good old fashioned kind -- with lumps of potatoes and skins! The chicken was topped with a shallot gastrique (a thick sauce created by a reduction of vinegar and sugar). The gastric was savory, but a little over powering, even in the small amount. While the flavor was tasty, it was a distraction.
Another dish sampled at our table was The Boss Burger ($10). My friend described it as a burger with complex flavors -- an adult hamburger. All the ingredients -- caramelized onions, cheddar, bacon, lettuce, pickles, and dijonaise -- complimented each other flawlessly. The burger was served with Zelko's crispy and light Parmesan Fries.
The final dish ordered by our table was the Blue Crab Cake. My dining companion said the cake was heated perfectly throughout. The combination of the crab and the sauce reminded her a crab wonton. She said the dish was delish.
I am going to go back to Zelko Bistro. Our experience was first-rate. All veggies and ingredients were notably fresh. And, the portions were hearty. We definitely felt we got our money's worth! I want to head back for some more fried pickles to nosh -- with a glass of wine. Also, I can't wait to try some dessert -- such as the Lemon Ice Box or Banana Spit. Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm!
705 E. 11th Street
Houston, Texas 77008