After a couple stressful months, my husband and I checked ourselves into the Westin this weekend for a little R&R.
Being right next to Kierland, he was keen to hit one of his favorite places in town...Zinc Bistro. We actually ended up eating there twice(he REALLY loves this place), lunch on Friday and dinner on saturday.
For lunch, we both had the Frisee salad with bacon and poached egg. This is one of my favorite salads and we make it frequently at home as well. As always it was very nice....very thick cut bacon giving lots of flavor and a perfectly poached egg which blended well with the vinaigrette.
We split some frites along with this....fresh, crispy and nicely seasoned. Love the homemade ketchup.
We splurged on a dessert...the coconut cream tart with guava sounded very interesting so we tried this. I was surprised by the cream cheese in the recipe as there was no mention of cream cheese..it had a very cheesecake like consistency and flavor. I'm not much of a cheesecake fan so I wasn't overly thrilled but it did have great coconut flavor. A coconut and cheesecake fan would have loved it. Did love the guava sauce and imagined what it would have been like iwth true coconut custard.....mmmmm
We went back for dinner the next night(thoguh I really wanted to try North myself)....Husband had a hankering for steak so back we went so he could have the Flat Iron steak with matchstick potatoes. I'm not a steak connosieur myself but the bites I had were a perfectly cooked medium rare and had great flavor. The matchsticks were nice, had never had those.
I order the goat cheese ravioli with oxtail. The ravioli had nice goat cheese flavor....a little goes a long way of course so the filling itself was quite minimal...the pasta though was thicker than I like my ravioli...so a bit doughy.....the sauce however....mmmmmm...mushroom sauce with a touch of cream and the oxtail adding a wonderful richness. I could have just eaten the sauce(and in fact didn't finish the ravioli but soaked up the sauce with some matchsticks which proved to be a most complementary vehicle for doing this).
For dessert we had the apricot-sage souffle. The souffle came out right out of the oven - hot and still risen...it was split open and served with a nice honey sauce. very nice apricot flavor, nice texture. Nicely complimented with a glass of ice wine.
We've yet to be disappointed by a meal here.
I had the coq au vin for lunch during a visit back in the winter...mmmmm....one of the best things I've had there. My husband was really hoping to find it on the menu this visit...couldn't get it in his head this was probably the wrong time of year. :)
Have also been pleased with the halibut at lunch during previous visits.
Thanks for the comments on North. Didn't know much about it and Italian sounded good to me....glad we skipped based on the reviews here.....
Another thumbs up on Zinc Bistro. I have _never_ been disappointed at dinner - I especially recommend the duck confit with white beans. Desserts are usually great too. The espresso has a nice crema. They also have a great wine list.
I have been disappointed at lunch a few times though. I can't even remember exactly what I had, which I guess says something right there. Part of it may be my growing annoyance that lunch just about everywhere... even at a "french-style bistro"... has such a salads and sandwiches focus. Also, we once had clams from the raw bar at lunch, they were pretty awful. Have also enjoyed lunch here very much a few times, though, and will likely go back. A much easier sell at dinner, though!
If you're visiting for the first time, it's easy to overlook the very pleasant inner courtyard which is through the restaurant and out to the right. When the weather is right, this is fantastic outdoor seating, more comfortable and pleasant than the sidewalk seating though the people watching suffers. So, if the weather is right I'd request courtyard seating.
North is totally mediocre in my opinion, based on two visits, one lunch one dinner. I did enjoy one of the pizzas, but the same quality level can be had at a more appropriate price and setting for what you get at their chain restaurant - Sauce - owned by the same people and pretty much the same pizza.
Another place close to Zinc is Greene House... same owners at North but seems better. The shtick is California products - all CA wine list, cheese board etc. I have been here twice for lunch and would like to go back for dinner. On my first visit, which was just after they opened, the food was good but the service was really terrible. The kobe beef sliders were great. The soft shell crab BLT was exeptionally well prepared, very light, not greasy, distinctly crabby. We shared a very good cheese platter (recognized humboldt fog and mt tam from cowgirl creamery) However, the waiter could not tell us the names of all of the cheeses and didn't make any effort to go find out... kind of a "well, that's a goat one, that one there's a...." approach. Just didn't care, it was clear.
I revisited again for lunch and the service was friendly, professional, attentive. And, we got a thorough rundown of that day's cheese platter! Place may have found its footing now after the opening.
I, too, have not been disappointed at Zinc. Very cempetent food, good wine list, excellent service even when very busy; nice "feel" to the place. What more could I ask for ?
All in all I'm finding more and more places to like in Albuquerque besides the known Northern New Mexican places. Previously I might have said something that would suggest ABQ to be mostly chains; for "better" restaurants head to Santa Fe. No more.
I love Jennifer James' Graze and Scalo remains very good and very reliable. More recently I've really liked The Standard and, especially, Slate Street Cafe downtown all in addition to Zinc. Suddenly I've decisions to make when going to Albuquerque.
fyfas, I guess that I'll be the one to tell you that the Zinc Bistro in this report is in Scottsdale, AZ not Albuquerque, NM. The "Kierland" mention was the giveaway clue.
Glad to know there is a great spot in Albuquerque by the same name. We're heading that way in a couple of weeks and I've tucked this away.
I haven't been back to Zinc Bistro since I first started my food blog. So, we are talking a year here. I was very, very pleased with my meal there and had a great meal.
You are correct about the poached egg with the salad. It is a great match with the dressing.
I really need to get back there soon.
re: Seth Chadwick
We went to Zinc last week and had a great time. The cheese tray (3 for $16) was exceptional. 3 different types of breads, salami, lots of fruit, nuts, and the cheese was great. We also shared some pomme frittes (awesome), the mussels and the spinach salad. Paired with a glass of Sancerre, it's hard to go wrong. I also prefer Zinc to North when in the Kierland area. It's a great place to just drop in for a casual meal.
You made a better choice sticking with Zinc instead of North. I've never been impressed with North and most of the feedback I've read about it has been mediocre.
I've only had very good experiences with Zinc, with the exception of the chocolate souffle, I found it far to eggy for my preference.
The tuna sandwich at lunch is delightful with capers in the tuna and a lovely haricot verts salad.