Z'Tejas may fall under the description of an authentic southwestern restaurant if you were to classify it, but such a limiting depiction of this restaurant would be a complete injustice. Z'Tejas certainly allows you to enjoy a mexican flavor if that is what you are looking for, but what Z'Tejas really offers is something that you don't find often today, originality.
What makes the Z'Tejas menu so tempting is that they always manage to find the right combinations. The menu from top-to-bottom always is perfectly matched and it begins with the assortment of appetizers that are far from your everyday appetizer list. The grilled shrimp and guacamole tostada bites, which could be a meal in themselves, are a must have. The crunchy tostada type chip is covered with fresh guacamole and topped off with a perfectly pesto-grilled piece of shrimp that puts a fabulous twist on your typical shrimp appetizer.
If you were to try one item on the Z'Tejas menu it would have to be the Diablo Chicken Pasta. This dish contains jerk chicken, red pepper and jalapeno linguini, diablo sauce and grated cotija cheese. The Diablo sauce has enough of a kick to bring your taste buds to life, while not being so overpowering that it overwhelms you. The only problem with this dish is it so flavorsome, that you may never want to try anything else on the menu.
If you are a pasta fan, a close second to the Diablo Chicken Pasta would have to be the Jack's Five Cheese Macaroni. Now you may think macaroni and cheese is a kids dish or something you would likely never order as your main course when you go out for dinner. Let me tell you, the only similarities between macaroni and cheese and this entree are that they both have the words macaroni and cheese in the name. The mixture of jack, cheddar, parmesan and roman cheeses, combined with bacon gratin give you an incredibly rich sauce you will be hard pressed to find in other pasta dishes and it is topped with the perfect compliment, achiote-grilled chicken.
If you are looking for more than pasta, don't worry, Z'Tejas has a wide variety of meat and fish items that will satisfy any appetite.
The fish items include; grilled ruby trout, grilled miso salmon and the Voo Doo Tuna, which is a blackened ahi tuna steak served over a sweet black pepper-corn vinaigrette sauce and topped with a spicy soy mustard sauce. A few of the other items include a gorgonzola New York strip, an ancho bourbon beef tenderloin and the stuffed pork tenderloin.
If you have any room left, and with the generous portions and great food it will be tough, but force yourself to have some Z'Tejas dessert and the top of the line would be the ancho chile fudge pie. The fudge pie comes out to you so fresh and warm that it may very well have went from the oven to your table and as soon as you take a bite, it just melts in your mouth.
Founding corporate chef Jack Gilmore summed it up appropriately; 'The one word that describes our food is flavorful. After a meal at Z'Tejas, I want you to recall the flavors you experienced the next day.' There is no question that this will be the case.
Z'Tejas is not only a great place to enjoy lunch or dinner, but it is big enough to hold a party and it also has a great happy hour from 4 pm to 7 pm daily.
For more information on Z'Tejas and all of its locations, you can visit their website at www.ztejas.com. To contact the Z'Tejas at the South Coast Plaza in Costa Mesa, call (714) 979-7469.