Zuzu busts out of its comfort zone

Beet your heart out

The menu at Cafe Zuzu, that sleek little restaurant inside the Hotel Valley Ho, always struck me as really comfort food-y, full of homey, guilty pleasures -- homemade potato chips with blue cheese fondue being my prime example.

But it looks like executive chef Chuck Wiley's having fun in the kitchen with Zuzu's Monday Night Chef's Table events, a weekly three-course prix fixe with wine pairings. The thing that really caught my eye in the upcoming schedule was this drool-worthy appetizer: roasted beet salad with Humboldt Fog and sherry-honey reduction. Wow, that sounds good. Calling all beet salad and goat cheese lovers... you know who you are!

Anyway, that's one of the dishes on the menu for the January 22 "Perfect Vegetable" dinner, which will feature organic produce and a chat with special guest Pat Duncan, from Goodyear's Duncan Produce Co. The main course that night will be herb-roasted beef tenderloin with braised field greens, sweet young carrots, and red wine sauce. For dessert, look for Holland rhubarb strudel with rum glaze and chocolate ice cream.

Other Chef's Table themes in the works for this month: "Crab Fest" (Jan. 8 ), "Ahi Several Ways" (Jan. 15), and "Jamison Farms Lamb" (Jan. 29). The price is $42 per person (plus tax and tip), and you can make reservations by calling 480-421-7710.

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