First Look: Zeal Modern Eatery, East Cobb

Beginning with Seed Kitchen & Bar, and more recently Common Quarter, East Cobb dining has been getting a lot more interesting, lately. Now, Zeal Modern Eatery from general manager Michael Braver and managing partner Scott Sawant joins the scene with a lively atmosphere and lunch and dinner menus that offer a lot of different ways to snack and imbibe or have a multi-course meal.

The look: Located in Market Plaza on Johnson Ferry Road in east Cobb, the inviting contemporary space was designed by Allison Hyer to include distinctive bar and dining areas. Near the bar, there’s a cozy lounge with shuffleboard tables and dart boards. Beyond, the patio features an outdoor fireplace. In the dining room, there’s a long communal table in front and booths along the wall.

The scene: One recent evening, the bar was a busy hub of activity, with groups enjoying apps and drinks while trying to figure out how to play shuffleboard. In the dining room, the scene was slightly more sedate, though multiple conversations soon escalated to an echoing din.

The food: Executive chef Eric Mulville is a Culinary Institute of America grad and the former executive chef and managing partner of Maggiano’s Buckhead. Mulville’s starters include the likes of goat cheese grit fritters ($6) and chicken lollipops ($11). Share plates, such as skirt steak ($26/$13) and seared diver scallops ($23/$12), come in large and small sizes. Entrees range from Carolina grilled catfish with roasted corn hushpuppies ($16) to Middle Eastern-flavored stuffed lamb ($32).

The drinks: Though there are plenty of wines to choose from by the glass and the bottle, beverage director Amanda Rae Johnson clearly likes craft beer and whiskey. Mother Earth Endless River Kolsch ($7), Wild Heaven Invocation ($7), and Three Taverns Single Intent ($6) were on the recent draft beer list. You can choose a flight of four four-ounce pours for $10. There’s also a flight of six selected whiskeys for $16. The current cocktail list includes the Voulez-Vous ($12) with Larceny Bourbon, vanilla bean, brown sugar, and root beer extract.

The extras: At lunch, look for sandwiches such as a salmon club with bacon ($9) and an oyster po boy ($12), and entrees such as seafood carbonara. There’s a late night menu with apps, flat breads and sliders.

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