At the high end, new restaurants tend to flame out pretty quickly. After the initial rush of local buzz and gushing reviews, cracks start to appear - usually driven by real gaps between lofty prices (and expectations) and the inconsistencies that tend to bedevil such a complex product.
So when a restaurant starts out great and stays that way, it's something to celebrate -- especially in a town with relatively few strong contenders.
My wife and I have eaten at Zoe a half-dozen times over the past several years (most recently this past Saturday night), and our respect for the place has only grown as Scott Staples and his crew have delivered a great experience, time after time. From food to service to wine to overall ambiance, Zoe is the Energizer bunny of Seattle's best restaurants, still going strong long after many of its flashier contemporaries have fallen on hard times.
As some previous reviewers have noted, the experience at Zoe isn't about flash or "high concept" cooking, and that's exactly the point. Doing something difficult very well night after night is what separates the great from the well-promoted, and Zoe has earned its place on the list.