Mediterranean Cuisine

By Carol & Joe Davis
Dining Detectives

Berkeley is a very sophisticated dining town and new restaurants have to be better than just good to make it! When we heard that the space on 4th Street was open again we hoped for the best because of the past turnover.

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We were pleased to hear that Zut! had hired successful and accomplished Executive Chef Jim Wimborough who is a graduate of The California Culinary Academy and has great local experience. As we entered the newly renovated space, we could tell that the vibe was more welcoming than previously. We were seated in the center of the main dining room where we could see the stylish bar which has custom Cast-Glass shelves and a zinc top. The side dining room is surrounded by wonderful murals and a shade which covers the skylight to enhance the mood in the early evening. There is a small outdoor patio and a semi-exhibition kitchen with a wood fire grill and rotisserie all creating a wonderful ambience.

We ordered cocktails to start as we looked at the focused menu. As we drank our Maltese Cocktail made with Ketel One Vodka, grapefruit, lemon, mint and Ouzo and a Cosmopolitan made with fresh lime juice we made some decisions about what to taste with the help of our friendly and professional server Jed. The starters that we enjoyed included the Stuffed Local Squid with chorizo, mint, garlic and lemon spicy, the Lamb Meatballs with smashed avocado and pecorino which had an excellent tomato sauce and the Crispy Smelts with lemon and garlic. Next, we had a delicious unique Farm Egg & Sausage Pizza made with fresh mozzarella, gypsy peppers and early girl sweet tomatoes. One doesn't normally think of eggs on pizza but here it really worked!

The Wine List features Southern European and California Wines and with our entrees we enjoyed the 2009 Longboard Sonoma Sauvignon Blanc and the 2008 Domaine Arlaud Burgundy Pinot Noir. Our entrees were both suburb! The Whole Petrale Sole with summer radish, ruby grapefruit vinaigrette and sautéed spigariello greens was one of the best fish entrees we have had all year. The Heritage Farms Pork Rotisserie with roasted mission figs, polenta and parmesan was excellent. The pork was very succulent and tender enhanced with flavors created by the rotisserie. The dessert that we really enjoyed was the silky and tasty Muscovado Pot De Crème which was a whole wheat hazelnut sable caramel with a great burnt flavor. An Espresso, Amaro Montenegro Bitters and a Carpano Antica Vermouth which were recommended by Bar Manager, Michael Petrilli, was the perfect finish to an outstanding dining experience.

Berkeley is a foodie town and to survive a restaurant must reach certain heights. Zut! has the right stuff to please with excellent cuisine made with locally sourced and sustainable ingredients, stylish décor created by local Berkeley craftsmen and artists and a friendly vibe. You may wonder the origin of the name? Zut was the beloved Dog of the original builders many years ago. If you request... they will show you his cute picture. Zut alors is also a mild French expletive. As we left we heard a train whistle in the background and all we could think of was Zut! was damn good!


Zut! Restaurant
1820 4th Street
Berkeley, CA. 94710


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