Zea Woodfire Grill is located at the shops at Granite Park in Plano, TX. The décor is contemporary as are most of the newer restaurants in that area. The lounge area, adjacent to the bar, is outfitted with comfortable sofas and chairs. At night, the lights are dimly lit providing a cozy atmosphere. The outdoor fireplace adds charm, although on cooler days, no one risks sitting in the outdoor patio to enjoy it. Even then, it gives those inside a great sense of warmth. A suggested improvement would be an indoor fireplace in the lounge. Slightly detracting from the whole theme was the orange opaque glass used behind the bar. The vertical streamers in the orange glass remind you of that inexpensive plastic used in 1970s decorating and leave you thinking ‘why did they do that?’ Smooth, white, opaque glass, stone or maybe nothing at all would have been a better idea for that space. No matter, the overall look of the restaurant was well done notwithstanding that orange thing behind the bar.
Let’s talk about the food. Zea’s international menu is not fusion by definition but it has a great selection of items. Thai, Latin, Italian and US (including some southern style sides) are well represented. Most of the items are well prepared and are very appetizing, which is an incredible feat when considering the ethnic diversity coming from a single kitchen. An exception was the Pesto Crusted Trout. Although it’s a favorite of many guests, it can be a little dry. Just a hint . . . maybe thicker portions of fresh trout won’t be as dry when the plate reaches the table. If you love southern cooking, don’t leave without trying the collard greens. Zea has managed to make an old southern favorite a successful part of their menu. Making collards neither bitter nor overly sweet is a difficult accomplishment that Zea seems to have mastered. Their duck whether offered in the form of an empanada or twice cooked is neither over done nor greasy. Only the great flavor of the duck remains.
Don’t forget to review their wine list. A lot is offered from many of the wine producing parts of the globe including several from the Sonoma Valley (a personal favorite). One could go on talking about the wine, the Thai Ribs, Almond Shrimp, Asian Tuna Salad, Corn Grits or any of their other offerings but it would be easier to say, go taste them for yourself. Try visiting on a cool but not freezing day or evening where you can enjoy these flavors by the fireplace on Zea’s outdoor patio.