Historic downtown Plano scores another destination restaurant, this time sleek, upscale Zanata, with pastas and amazing pizzas baked in a wood-burning oven. Wait a minute. That sounds like Urban Crust, the pizza joint right up the street. It’s a bit strange for chef Ted Grieb and partner Al Lefere to open a similar concept in such close proximity to a competitor, but they like old downtowns. They opened the original Zanata in downtown Rockwall.
Zanata’s pizza is dynamite, with some chew and some char on the crust—very Fireside Pies.One pizza, the Roni, seemed a direct lift. But Zanata has combos of its own, such as soft potato, rosemary, pancetta, and egg; and another with individual leaves of Brussels sprouts, chewy bacon, and plump chanterelle mushrooms. Salumi plates are hot right now, but Zanata’s selection of meats was small. Inexplicably, the night we made our visit, the plate contained grapes carefully cut in half. Pastas, paired with bold ingredients, excelled. Gnocchi came with foie gras, spinach, toasted almonds, and prunes, a sophisticated addition that created an incredible richness with the foie. I found it much too rich; next time I’d request less foie and more spinach. Big, meaty entrées such as steak and stuffed pork loin brought back Grieb’s early days at Dakota’s. Ex-Bolsa bartender Dub Davis mans the bar, where no bottle of wine exceeds $60 and nearly all can be ordered by the glass.
For more information on Zanata, visit our restaurant guide.