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Monday March 30, 2015
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Zola Bistro Reviewed



concrete counter, snug beneath the low ceiling and the plush velvet entrance curtain hugging my back. If I order a martini, the bartender will pour it from an individual shaker, generous enough to top off my glass again once I've sipped most of the cocktail. The antipasto platter or a huge bowl of mussels always promises a bargain, and grilled octopus-a personal favorite-is a regular special.

Now Zola has a new sister-all grown up and cosmopolitan-on Washtenaw Avenue in the new Arbor Hills Crossing shopping center. Named Zola Bistro, she shares her older sibling's sophisticated design sensibility. Without downtown's warm brick walls and divided space, though, the new place-a large open room of glass, steel, concrete, and marble with an undulating scrap wood wall that functions as sculpture-feels more dramatically austere. Owners Hediye Batu and Alan Zakalik have already installed ceiling baffles to address initial complaints about noise levels generated by all those hard surfaces. Our table of five had no trouble conversing on a busy Friday night.

Those generous cocktails have made the trip over to the bistro, and both restaurants now share the same extensive menus for brunch and dinner. Although the mussels remain on the dinner menu, the antipasto platter has been split in three (vegetable, cheese, or meat), and the octopus has attained a permanent spot-at a heftier price for a smaller portion.

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