Thursday, December 18, 2008

Mamma Zu

Today, at long last, I had the opportunity to visit (according to locals) that bastion of ultimate Italian cuisine in the river city-- Mamma Zu's.

Living here in RiVA for the past 5 years, I've heard pretty much all of the scuttlebutt surrounding Zu's. Words like 'dump', 'dive', 'surly', 'attitude', 'churlish' and 'fractious' have all been thrown around.

Being a Zu neophyte and having heard these stories, I was touched with a tad bit of mild apprehension about my lunch today. My anxiety was all for naught. Certainly, all of the aforementioned appellations apply. However, 'heavenly', 'delightful', 'authentic','charming', and 'intoxicating' would be appropriate as well.

Richmond, I get it. Many times I don't, but this time, I really, really do. Ours was a simple lunch, not too many folks up in the joint and one of our party almost got stabbed when she requested her entree they forgot after the rest of us had already finished. (Well, she didn't really almost get stabbed, but I feel a strong moral imperative to help hold up the fearsome urban legends swirling around MZ's). But I get it.......there's just this vibe. No other way to explain it. Oh, and the pasta! My lord.......

If I had to explain it, I would probably say it's b/c Zu's is completely unapologetic for who they are. Personally, this is an attribute I appreciate, respect and admire. Also, perhaps my own personality "quirks" lend to feeling like I "fit in" to this environment- LOL! It takes solid cajones to say, "This is who I am, like it or get the hell out." And that's exactly what Zu's does.

We ordered the white pizza, penne gorgonzola, spaghetti carbonara and the fabulous pasta w/sausage, broccoletti and ricotta. The white pizza was exploding with roasted garlic flavor. The smell overpowered the restaurant as it was being made (no complaints here however, as my enthusiasm for garlic knows no bounds).

The penne and spaghetti, both creamy, rich and tasting exactly as you would want them to. And lastly, but most certainly not least-- the sausage pasta w/broccoletti and ricotta. Three simple words cover it all = To.Die.For. The sausage is a hedonistic indulgence of the senses. I may not know a lot in this life, but I do know I will be dreaming about this particular dish for many nights to come. :) And it will draw me back.

If you haven't gone, I encourage you to go. All the things you've heard are true and make for a unique and revered Richmond experience. Get thee to Zu's, pronto!

** I would also like to add, that without any prompting or threat of physical violence, the manager took 1/2 off of my friend's dish that had been forgotten.
**PS They only take cash, local check or AMEX.

Mamma Zu
501 S Pine St
Richmond, VA 23220
(804) 788-4205

1 comment:

Vanessa said...

Two things you must try, the sweetbreads...no words...none. Just none. And the oyster appitizer. It is pricey, I think but worth it for a special treat.