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Dining On A Dime: ZaZa Sabor

Ever since we started the Dining on a Dime series to highlight ways to get fine dining for less, our inbox has runneth over. Readers are sending in tips on their faves, publicists are giving us the inside scoop on foodie finds, and instead of Chinese and pizza take-out menus tied to the front door of the Gay List Mansion, we’re coming home to little bags of truffles and foie gras with personal notes from celebrity chefs begging us to write about their deals. (Wolfgang, this is your last warning to get off our lawn before we file for a restraining order.)

Well, we couldn’t be more excited to share these deals with you – one of the biggest perks to come out of the economic downturn. If we’ve gotta sell our plasma to put food on the table, it might as well be Seared Diver Scallops and Death By Chocolate.

This week’s outrageous deal is at Dragonfly, the hip restaurant inside the über-chic Hotel ZaZa. Every Wednesday night, world-famous rapper Fiddy Percent waves his giant gold chains and like magic, everything on the menu becomes half-off. Even desserts!

We were given a $100 gift card to put the discount to the test. Cocktails and wine are regular price, which makes us wish that they didn’t have such hypnotic power over our minds. “Drink us!” all the bottles whisper in unison as we walk past the bar. “Lift us to your lips!” the glasses exclaim. “Put us inside you!” two old men dining together scream as we sprint past their table.

Once at our seats, we started with two cocktails ($12/each), but they were well worth it. Expertly crafted, they were a good splurge. Our favorite, and coincidentally the nickname of the nun who taught third grade at our parochial school, was the Big Flirt. Grey Goose (her nickname after she turned 65) is mixed with Triple Sec, pineapple juice, passion fruit and Champagne. Two of these and we might’ve gone home with Statler and Waldorf, who continued to leer at us from their two-top in the next room.

For our first course, we opted for two lighter salads. The Hydro Bibb ($6 at half-price) was a delightful blend of buttery Bibb Lettuce topped with blue cheese, fresh pear slices, toasted pecans, pink peppercorns (they’re gay!) and a Roasted Shallot Vinaigrette. We ended up ditching most of the peppercorns, but the combination was complex and refreshing. Ditto that sentiment for the luscious array of Raindrop Farms Heirloom Tomatoes ($6) with sliced hearts of palm, pickled Cippolini Onions and fresh tarragon.

The main reason we went light for starters and skipped some of the heavier appetizers was due to the entrées we knew lay ahead. Keep in mind, our non-booze total so far is only 12 bucks. The server recommended Dragonfly’s famous Ginger Beef Tenderloin, but pointed out that the new Prime Steaks were the biggest steal around. We were already two steps ahead, Mr. Waiter. The 16-ounce Prime Bone-in Rib Eye ($22) had already caught our eye. Served a perfect medium rare with a salty, crunchy sear, this was a fantastic steak bursting with flavor from the natural marbling. A Beurre Rouge (red butter) sauce was delicious, but we’re glad we got it on the side. This sucker didn’t need any help.

We also tried the Fresh Hawaiian Fish of the Day ($17.50), which was a delicate grilled filet of Barramundi (and for the record, far tastier than the much more leathery Barramannilow). Served atop a chilled Quinoa Taboulleh and encircled with Citrus Ricotta, the freshness of the fish shone through, well, swimmingly.

Because the steaks are served a la carte, we took this as our cue to sample several sides without a worried thought of excess. Grilled Broccolini ($3), Garlic Mashers ($3) and a medley of Sautéed Mushrooms ($3) were the ideal accompaniments to both the turf and the surf sides of the table.

For dessert, the Oh God! Chocolate Cake ($4) wasn’t worth the blasphemy for us. A flourless chocolate cake can be a thing of flavorful ecstasy, but this one just didn’t do it for us. We stopped after one bite and ordered two glasses of wine ($24) instead. Might as well get a buzz for the calorie intake, we say. Next time, we’ll go with our instinct and order A Slice of Ice, their signature Oreo ice-cream pie. Can’t go wrong there.

So, our grand total without alcohol was a remarkable $64.50 and we were stuffed. The alcohol threw us over the $100 limit by 12 dollars, though, so there’s probably a lesson to be learned here. We’re just not sure what it is.

But if you add it all up, even with the hooch, we stilled paid less than we would’ve for the food alone on a regular night. Finally, our Public Service Announcement for Dine on a Dime deals. Please tip your servers off the original, pre-discount total. They’re still working just as hard to get us cheapskates our food.

50% Off Food Wednesdays not available during Restaurant Week (August 16th – September 6th), so get in tomorrow if you can!

Dragonfly, inside Hotel ZaZa
2332 Leonard Street, Dallas
(214) 550-9500
www.hotelzazadallas.com

Gay List Deals Coming Soon
Gay List Daily is on a mission to help gay-owned and gay-friendly local businesses. Coming soon: Gay List Deals. It’s sort of like GroupOn for the gays, but for us by us.

Local businesses offer fab deals, available for one day only, to our 10,000 Dallas readers, who in turn support the businesses that support us. It’s like a daisy chain for the economy. Now THAT’S stimulating.

If you’ve got a local business looking to attract thousands of gay customers, drop us a line at deals@gaylistdaily.com. You can also learn more at www.gaylistdeals.com.

For the rest of you, fabulous Gay Listers, stay tuned. Let’s work together to keep our local gay-owned and gay-friendly businesses in business.