Brunch at Zed’s (Austin, TX)

January 25, 2013

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Tucked away in the North Austin, Zed’s Restaurant is serving up Southern-style comfort food with French and Moroccan touches. Known for one of the best patios in Austin, makes it the perfect spot for Sunday brunch. Upon arriving at the restaurant, you’re immediately greeted with a waterfall that laces down stacked rock, through the restaurant and out the tiered decks in the back where the view is unexpectedly gorgeous for it’s suburban location.

The dishes are nothing you expect – only so much better – in a way, as if the restaurant is too shy to ever tell you that one of the best brunches in Austin is served up between its lil’ ol’ brick walls.

apple beignets, brunch

We eased into brunch with a carafe of mimosas and the beautiful backyard view of the hill country. The meal started an order of the apple beignets with powdered sugar and pastry cream. Golden brown, crispy with a soft center and coated with a flurry of white snow. The secret in getting the perfect bite is to get as much powdered sugar as possible, dip into freshly whipped cream, and pair with a juicy berry.

As someone with a serious lack of a sweet tooth, a dislike of anything with fruit, and an overall picky mindset, I’m marveled at my weakness for beignets. It’s the perfect indulgence to share with friends over coffee on a brisk day.

Steak and eggs

The pairing of steak and eggs tempts me on brunch menus; even a wee little piece of red meat feels like a luxury when I haven’t been awake for all that long. And this temptation has been reinforced by the Steak and Eggs at Zed’s.  The house-smoked prime rib is tender and melt in your mouth tender. Paired with a creamy horseradish, sautéed cremini mushrooms and pan fried eggs – it’s almost too indulgent for brunch.

Hands down the steak and eggs is byfar my favorite brunch meal in the history of brunches eaten by me. If there is anything I regret more at Zed’s is not ordering that for myself. I am guilty of eating more off his plate than mine.

texas rarebit, zeds, austin, brunch, texas toast

If you’re a big eater, the Texas Rarebit is for you. Pulled chicken, homemade sausage, green chili, fried eggs between two pieces of hearty Texas toast, toasted to perfection and smothered with cheese.

potato hash, brunch

Both entrees come with a home-fried hash with peppers.

bread, pudding, french, toast, brunch, dessert

The Bread Pudding French Toast caught our attention at first glance of the menu. Knowing that we wouldn’t be able to finish an appetizer, and two entrees, we opted to save it for another visit. But at the end of the meal, it was unanimously decided that the bread pudding French toast must be savored. And it was.

Two thick pieces of challah bread, soaked in custard, seared til golden. Typically served with house churned butter, berry compote, and a vanilla infused maple syrup. The secret is to ask for the bread pudding French toast for dessert. It comes with pastry cream and fresh berries.

You know a brunch is so good when it knocks you out for a three hour food coma. Thank goodness for Sundays.


Ko: What’s the secret in cooking a great steak?

Chef Jacob Hilbert at Zed’s:

The first thing with cooking a great steak. obviously you need a good cut. the parameters for determining a good cut of beef are not altogether different from cut to cut. You should have a nice deep red muscle tissue with a good marbling of fat.

As far as the cooking here are a few tips:

Let the steak rise to room temperature.  It is my preference for most good steak cuts not to marinate as I am a bit of a purest. At the restaurant, we season the steaks with pepper and a red chile coffee rub, with pepper or a rub it is necessary to apply that to the steak first.  If the steak is salted first then the pepper or rub will not adhere to the surface of the steak.  When applying seasoning do so from about 8 to 10 inches above the steak, besides the theatre and drama of doing so this technique will insure a more even distribution of the seasoning.  Make sure you salt nicely and with a good salt, at least kosher, iodized salt is the devil’s work, avoid it at all costs.

The next step… high heat. when cooking in the home this can be a bit daunting, make sure you have your vent working and on high.  With the flame on high apply a thin layer of oil to the pan and wait for it to shimmer and lose its viscosity looking more like water than oil (this occurs just before the smoke point).  Place your seasoned steak into the pan carefully to avoid hot oil splatter.  Lay the steak down going away from you, this will help as well.
Allow the steak to sit unmolested in the pan for about three minutes, then lift and turn the steak and you should see a lovely and even browning- the mysterious maillard effect… allow this side an additional three minutes to sear. The next step is where the fun is- add a pat of butter to the hot pan and then you can add minced garlic or fresh herbs such as thyme or rosemary or sage… whatever the heart desires.
As the butter melts and the herbs or garlic are frying away spoon this butter repeatedly over the steak.  Then remove the steak and allow it to rest for at least two to three minutes, this will allow the juices to settle back into the steak.
As an aside… often you hear that searing “seals in the juices”… this is incorrect.  Any time you apply heat to anything there is moisture loss.  It is the high heat and the quickness of cooking that actually keeps the steak moist.  Less time on the fire… more moisture.


501 Canyon Ridge Dr.
Austin, TX 78753

Disclaimer: This restaurant feature is independently published by A Taste of Koko. I was invited by Zed’s on behalf of Newton O’Neill Communications for the meal. 


Jane Ko is the Austin blogger behind A Taste of Koko, Austin's top food and travel blog featuring the hottest restaurants and weekend getaways. Jane has been a speaker at South by Southwest (SXSW), Texas Conference for Women, BlogHer, and more on entrepreneurship and social media. She lives in Austin Texas with her dog and cat.