“Eating My Words”
Several months ago I wrote a review for Zia in which I mentioned that though many of the early kinks and buoys of discontent had been addressed, there were still some points that needed looking into. Well, there are two types of restauranteurs, the ones that know better than their customers and take that ideology with them to their soon-to-be-defunct restaurants grave, (thinking of you, Barleycorn) Or, the kind that listens, and adjusts accordingly. The folks at Zia most definitely fall into the second group. The “market price” guacamole is long gone. My main gripe; “Youre flying a New Mexico flag; where the cuisine?” has been addressed. Green chile stew and carne adovada pop up regularly as specials. They dont seem to be as tight fisted with the meat portions anymore. In the end, without our realizing it, Zia has become one of our favorite restaurants in Asheville. The pollo verde has become my go to dish. You have the option to lay it as you like; as a quesadilla, in tacos, on a salad, nachos, etc. They do a unique take on nachos; rather than a pile of chips with the goods slopped all over them, they decorate each individual chip with the meat, sauce and cheese. Drizzle some crema on that with a bit of their habanero salsa, and well, joy is soon to follow. Their house salsa and chips (complimentary) are a nice start, but Im addicted to that smoky habanero salsa, which they offer when they bring the chips. If you like some heat in your life, I advise you to accept that offer. The aforementioned green chile stew is truly fantastic; the quality of the ingredients they use here is most obvious in a dish like this and the wife reports that the ensalada de casa with pollo yucatán is also a heavy hitter. Not to be forgotten; the baja fish tacos and baracho beans are worth their weight in gold as well.
If you came here early on and were less than impressed, I really recommend you give Zia another shot. A groove is not always something fallen into immediately, but once you find it, well, you have arrived. Treat yourself right and go experience their finery.
Grade: B+ (I wish $5 margaritas happened more often)