Authentic Soul Food at Z’Novia

The first stop on my Savor the Bronx culinary adventures was Z’Novia, located on Grand Concourse and 161st St. I’ve had an intense craving for soul food for the past month, so I was hoping they wouldn’t let me down. I’m glad to report that did not only did they not disapoint, but they set the bar for any soul food restaurant I may ever go to in the future.

I decided to order something standard that any soul food place should be order to make (same way I always order a vodkacran at a bar to see if I can trust them to make anything more advanced), which was fried chicken, collard greens, and baked mac and cheese.

The fried chicken had the right amount of crispiness – not gross and damp like KFC and not overly crunchy where you might lose a tooth like Popeye’s. No one makes better collard greens than my Grandma, but this is as close as I’ve ever tasted. You could tell it had been marinating for a while and held the juices in without being soggy. What I really loved about the baked mac and cheese is that it was made with real cheese, not any fake Easy Mac nonsense.

There was an extra piece of chicken, but I was eating it when this picture was taken.

Afterward, we opted for dessert. And I don’t say this lightly, it was the BEST sweet potato pie I have ever had in my life. Everything about it was perfect. I’m still thinking about it 24 hours later, that’s how you know it’s good.

Throughout the night, a live band played renditions of classics like “Betcha By Golly Wow” and more recent favorites like the Fugees’ “Killin’ Me Softly.” Other diners bust out their moves on the dance floor, while we opted to sway in our seats.

The hostess checked on us frequently, but it did take a while for us to get our food and check from our waiter. The place was super packed and it was a Friday night, so I won’t hold it against them too much.

I have yet to figure out where my next stop will be, but there will, as always, be a post on it.

P.S. Thanks to my friend Ketiwe, who served as the photographer for the evening!

Z'Novia on Urbanspoon

Finally! Bronx Restaurant Week Announced

After being the only borough without an official restaurant week, Savor the Bronx, the first annual Bronx restaurant week has been announced.

Produced by the Bronx Tourism Council and the Bronx Overall Economic Development Corp., it’s set to take place from November 1–13 and features 15 different restaurants.

This is a really great opportunity to showcase the borough’s culinary awesomeness, however, I am surprised that more restaurants aren’t participating. [I really would’ve loved two of my favorite Bronx eateries, Bruckner Bar and Grill and Taqueria Tlaxicalli offer up some specials]. Plus, Applebee’s is NOT a Bronx restaurant. Geographically, sure, but you can’t tell me that there weren’t any other restaurants originally from the Bronx that wanted to jump in and participate in this. The lunch special they’re offering is the lunch special they offer everywhere. Come on, now. [end rant]

Nevertheless, I’m looking forward to checking out Z’Novia, Ice House Cafe & Restaurant, and the Bronx Ale House. I’ve been mulling over going to Tosca. I passed by it everyday on my way to school, but never went in. And five years later, I still haven’t visited. I feel like I’d rather give these lesser known (well maybe not the Bronx Ale House, they’ve got a solid following) restaurants a shot.

What restaurants are you looking forward to visiting OR what Bronx restaurants do you think should’ve made the cut?