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‘Watts for Dinner’: Giant burrito, elotes worth a visit to ZaZa

Will Watts
Correspondent

Things got off to an appetizing start with not one, not two, not three but four appetizers! First there was the complimentary chips and salsa. Then there was the Mexican street corn, in not one, but two of the dishes we ordered. Bravo! Then, there was the queso blanco fundido to complement the chips.

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The salsa had a nice smoky texture and is not too hot for those concerned. The queso blanco fundido ($9, $3 off during happy hour) has bits of chorizo, a spicy Mexican sausage, floating around and is the perfect addition to the chips.    

I ordered the elotes ($5) or Mexican street corn. Basically, you take corn on the cob, add mayo, sour cream or sweet cream, cotija cheese and Tajin, a seasoning mix of chile powder, salt, and dehydrated lime for a mouth-puckering kick. According to the menu, mayo is used on ZaZa’s elotes. And while the menu said it was cotija cheese, typically on elotes it’s powder-fine, like a parmesan. But this was thick-cut, more like a mozzarella, and tasted more like quesadilla cheese. Still, I recommend this dish which few Mexican restaurants serve around these parts. Reading back, during my June 2018 review, I asked for this dish to be added to the menu. Did they listen? It may just be a coincidence. But I'd like to think so. And if so, thank you!  

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My partner in dine picked the esquites ($5) instead. It’s very similar, except the corn is off the cob and the ZaZa menu says they use sour cream instead of mayo and there’s no cheese.  

For his entrée, he picked four tacos ($3.50 each). Two slow-cooked pork carnitas tacos and two spicy al pastor tacos on corn tortillas. The carnitas tacos were better, as it appears the al pastor were not roasted on a vertical split but were replicated to a near proximity.  

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I went the vegetarian route, ordering a chile relleno burrito ($13). Chile relleno is one of my favorite dishes. Typically, it’s two egg coated chiles stuffed with cheese and deep fried. In this dish, strips of the chile are mixed with cheese, rice and beans inside of a giant burrito. While not highly representative of the chile relleno dish, it was a delicious and generous alternative to a meat-filled burrito.

My last official visit to ZaZa was June 2018. During that visit I also sampled the tinga chicken tacos; shredded chicken, slowly simmered for hours in a sauce made from tomatoes, chipotle chilis in adobo; oh my. I could eat my weight in tinga. Yum!

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If you go

ZaZa 

  • 1095 Bald Eagle Drive, Marco Island
  • 239-970-5205
  • eatatzaza.com