Midwest Living Review
Nestled in a South Broad Ripple strip mall just off the Monon Trail, Zest! Exciting Food Creations quickly muscled its way onto Indy's brunch/lunch scene when it opened in 2009. The fun and funky eatery has since expanded to include a dinner service complete with champagne cocktails and live music. Zest is bright and sunny by day, offering vibrantly colored walls filled with local art, but the lighting goes low in the evenings to create a romantic mood. White butcher-block paper and crayons on the tabletops let creative types doodle as they wait for their meals. Chef/partner Valerie Vanderpool stakes her reputation on a "down home goes uptown" concept by taking humble comfort foods and giving them a sophisticated, modern upgrade. The 3-napkin burger is a perfect example. Our sandwich entailed an enormous beef patty topped with white cheddar, smoked gouda, creamy blue cheese, grilled red onion, barbecue sauce and bacon, all secured beneath a sesame bun by a skewered gherkin. On the side -- crispy truffled-Asiago frites with red pepper aioli. This juicy knife-and-fork burger was seriously delicious and the flavorful toppings were top-quality, although were stuffed by the time we finished half our meal. It seemed a little redundant, but we also received a noteworthy bread "basket" (the basket itself being a large tin can a nice nod toward recycling) containing sourdough slices and soft pretzel rolls, plus a trio of flavored olive oil, butter and tapenade. At $16, this burger-and-fries combo is definitely something you'd want to reserve for a special splurge, but with this amount of food, the quality of ingredients and the overall ambiance, it's worth the high price tag. Zest's 3-napkin burger is only available at dinner, but there is a burger of the month on the menu for lunch as well.