Friday, August 12, 2011

Zinc Restaurant Review

Last night Sylvia and I enjoyed a suberb meal at Zinc, a fine dining establishment located in downtown Edmonton on the main floor of the Art Gallery of Alberta. For dinner a couple can expect to spend north of $125, not including tip, but it's worth every penny...worth its weight in zinc, you might say. Both food and service are superb.

With giant, two-story windows facing City Hall, the restaurant is awash in natural amber light, bathing the modern, funky decor in a gentle glow. Visitors immediately feel comfortable and energized; this establishment has that "new" feeling, very hip and refined, setting the stage for an excellent dining experience.

Zinc serves meals by the bite or by the plate, giving patrons a chance to sample a variety of delights. First, our palates were prepared with savoury homemade bread and butter and a bite apiece of gourmet cheese, a smoked apple concoction of some kind - purely delightful.

Then, we moved on to an apricot cheese sampler, complemented by tomato, gooseberry, a delicious compote and marinated olives.

Our main appetizers came out next: a single pan-seared digby scallop served on a sweet potato and maple ginger puree, and a portion of panzanella: bread, asparagus, tomatoes, prosciutto, balsamic reduction and lemon garlic preserve. The sublime scallop transcended all expectations with melt-in-your-mouth tenderness and eye-rolling flavour. Next time, we'll probably order a full plate. The panzanella was excellent as well, though probably my least favourite part of the meal because compared to all the other dishes, it was the most pedestrian.

Sylvia chose the beef as her main course, and enjoyed three giant meatballs served on a bed of pasta and grilled zucchini. I devoured a breaded chicken breast served with the most astounding bacon-and-berries concoction I've ever experienced. I should have taken notes, because this was really something.

Though rather stuffed at this point, I really wanted to sample dessert, so I ordered a bite of homemade butterscotch ice cream with a bite of chocolate brownie. Both were heavenly, the brownie served with a decorative "Z" garnish, which for some reason I initially thought stood for "Zorro." It stands for Zinc, of course, which our amused server gently pointed out.

Speaking of our server, he was extremely professional: prompt, friendly, and he knew the menu inside-out, describing each dish in detail as he brought it to our table. We left a generous tip; he deserved it.

Unfortunately we made the mistake of planning our night out backwards. We dined first, intending to visit the art gallery afterwards, but the gallery was closed by the time we finished our meal. This also cut us off from the pedway back to the library parking lot - no hardship in the summertime, but a potential annoyance during the winter. We'll easily avoid these minor complications next time by checking the AGA's hours beforehand.

Zinc offers an extremely pleasant fine dining experience. Highly recommended.

4 comments:

Tammy said...

You had me at cheese. We walked by there just the other day and I was wondering how it was. The food sounds delicious! I know sometimes those kinds of dinners can be expensive, but I think over time it becomes more about quality over quantity. A good chef really knows how to add flavor to every bite.

Thanks for the review, we will have to check that out!

"The Jeff Minders" said...

When we get out for fine dining, we do take notes. High end meals can be very complicated at the better chefs feel the need to come up with unique signature food combinations. In a way, thank goodness El Bulli is closed: you need an advanced degree in physics just to fathom the menu - no joke.

We will ask for a copy of the menu we can take home with us, and the server usually is happy to comply. On this we jot down our notes: flavours we like, ingredients, and so on. Also, it's extremely helpful for wine pairings. If food is complicated, wine is profound. I definitely need notes for wine.

Some establishments become wary if we ask too many questions. If we make it obvious that we are just foodies and not chefs ourselves, they usually open up with some very enlightening techniques.

It's a good way to get to know the people who create your meals. Every once in a while, I will pick up a ploy that ends up on the Good Food section of JSVB. At the very least, the menu with the notes on it makes a memorable souvenir, and will help you the next time you go out to that restaurant.

"Happy to help" said...

Menus and reservations are available on www.zincrestaurant.ca

Shaun said...

Thanks for the great post! I've been there for a conference and had coffee but never for dinner. We will need to check that out on a date night for sure!