Let's Get Ready To Rumble! (Over the Zuni Roll)

(Said in a deep sports announcer-ish voice with some Jock Jams playing in back) "Two Back Bay restaurants battle it out over who makes the best Zuni Roll.  In one ring you have Cottonwood Cafe."  (Insert flashy graphics, bright colors and maybe some fancy lettering) "Located on the corner of Berkeley and St. James Street, this Tex Mex place is where this creation was born.  But can it hold its own against the challenger, Parish Cafe?"  (Flash to Parish Cafe and insert more flashy graphics) "Parish, located just a mere minutes walk from Cottonwood Cafe on Boylston Street, this local darling also serves up the Zuni roll. But the real question is, who does it best?  Find out here, at the SBK!"  (Roll the commercial for the e-trade babies)


At this point, you might be wondering, "what the heck is a Zuni roll"?  And that's okay if you are.  The Zuni roll is sort of a "wrap celebrity" in the Back Bay.  It is smoked turkey, dill havarti cheese, bacon and a raspberry chipotle sauce served up to you warm.  It's a brilliant combination and everyone knows about it.  I'm willing to bet that if you mention either one of these two establishments to a local, they more than likely will mention something about it and might even recommend it.  There's much debate (at least in my office) about who does it best and I thought it high time the SBK weigh in.  

On hand, you have to give props to Cottonwood, they are the founder of this wrap.  It is served with the chipotle sauce on the side in a little cup made out of tortilla.  (Um awesome.  I know its supposed to be a garnish but I can't help but eat it) You get your choice of fries or greens, although the greens aren't really so abundant and it is primarily iceberg lettuce (I despise iceberg lettuce).  On the other hand, you have Parish that opts to serve the sauce in a little plastic cup on the side.  Their portion tends to be a little larger and the meat sliced a little thiner.  It is also served accompanied by fries or greens and these greens are a nice little mesclun mix.  

When you compare the atmosphere of each place (very important to the whole dining experience) Cottonwood has sort of a chain Mexican restaurant feel to it with a lot of tired looking Mexican-type decor.  Parish Cafe had a clean and updated minimalist look that is sort of homey (although they are usually so crowded that you don't get to make yourself at home for too long).  Both offer outdoor seating options in warmer months.  

So when it comes down to it, the winner for the best Zuni Roll is (drum roll please!) 

Parish Cafe!

While both are great options, Parish's Zuni Roll seems just a little bit better.  It seems fresher, larger and more appealing when served alongside delicious looking greens and enjoyed in a clean and updated atmosphere.  Although it's all a matter or preference, I recommend you try them both and see which one wins your own Zuni roll rumble.

Know another dish that should be challenged?  Let the SBK know!

Parish Café (Back Bay) on Urbanspoon

Cottonwood Café on Urbanspoon


Beth said...

I definitely agree!! You would think Cottonwood would have it, but Parish has the leg up. Now that I'm a vegetarian, I love their Elephant Walking on Eggs sandwich. Very tasty!

Beth B. said...

Jock Jams...hahaha!!! That brought back so many memories.

On a serious note...the Zuni roll sounds intriguing...I will have to try it sometime. :)

Jen said...

Too bad I heard today that Cottonwood is closing. : (

The Small Boston Kitchen said...

Beth, I've always wondered about the elephant walking on eggs sandwich, I might have to give it a whirl now!

Beth B, Jock Jams was awesome, I think I still have a copy of it as well as pictures of me wearing LA Gears and singing to "Mony, mony". I hope no one ever finds those....

Jen, no way! I did not hear that! I can't say I'm super surprised but I wonder what will go in there?

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