Wednesday, April 28, 2010

ZINC for Lunch

I finally finished exams yesterday, and to celebrate, Charles and I headed to the AGA for one final look at the Cardiff/Miller installations before they head out May 9th. We also stopped again at the Degas exhibit, however I can't say it was as enjoyable this time, as I had just spent the morning writing about Degas and the little dancer cast in my art history exam. We were also hoping to check out the Terrace Cafe for lunch, but thought we needed something more substantial than a wrap or sandwich. So instead we decided to head to Zinc and give it another try.

The restaurant was empty when we arrived around 2pm, but we were greeted promptly by the hostess. She happened to lead us to the same table as our previous visit.

Our server appeared right away to fill water glasses and to let us know about the specials - a blue cheese mac and cheese with flank steak, and a leek and potato soup. After that however, we were left for quite awhile to peruse the page long menu. We had long decided our orders by the time she returned - an Innis & Gunn with the Fish and Chips for Charles, and the "Un-Burger" with the soup of the day and an Amber's Chocolate Stout for me.

Chocolate Stout


Bread plate

I wasn't expecting the fresh brioche during lunch, but about 10 minutes after our order two pieces appeared along with their Thyme butter. Unfortunately we didn't get to indulge in the extra carbs, as our server returned straight away with our mains.

As with our last visit, we were in awe over the plating designs. They are beautiful - clean lines and simple, functional plates and bowls (both of us are also in love with their cutlery!). Charles enjoyed his fish and chips, particularly the Alberta White fish they had chosen, however he thought the batter on the fish could have been more crisp. He also didn't care for the 'Saki Soaked Nori Aioli', and I can't say I did either after trying it with a bite of fish; it seemed oily, and it overpowered the flavour of the fish completely. However we both agreed that the root vegetable chips made up of thinly sliced beets, potatoes and yam, and the red cabbage slaw with black sesame seeds were fantastic.

Fish and Chips - Alberta White Fish, Root Vegetable Chips, Red Cabbage Slaw & Sake soaked Nori Aioli ($19)

My "un-burger"was great. The elk and caribou patty was rich, flavourful and moist, and I loved the sweetness of the honey caramelized onions. The Saskatoon berry aioli also provided a nice brightness that cut through the rich brioche bun and the burger itself well. I have to say the burger was incredibly large with all the toppings, so Charles helped me finish it... he thought he would definitely go for that on our next visit. The leek and potato soup was also good - rich and creamy and perfect for yesterday afternoon, which turned out to be a bit rainy and cold.

Alberta's Finest Un-burger - Homemade Ground Caribou and Elk, Honey Caramelized Onions, Saskatoon Berry Aioli, Sautéed Mushrooms ($17)

w/ Leek and Potato Soup

Our server came back to fill water glasses, clear our plates (she did not come back while we were eating to ask how our food was, etc.) and inquire about dessert. She came back with a dessert menu, also telling us that she didn't know if the kitchen was still open or if they had shut down to prepare for dinner service. It turned out that although they were shutting down, the kitchen 'would do dessert for us', and we ended up sharing the crème brulée, the same dessert Charles had during our last visit for dinner.

Vanilla Espresso Crème Brulée - Praline Hazelnut Gelato, Strawberry Foam ($12)

Crème Brulée detail

Neither of us thought the dessert was as good as last time, but couldn't place our finger on anything specific. Maybe it was the confusion over the kitchen and the way the menu was presented to us...

As with our last visit, we enjoyed the food, but found the service still lacking. Once again our server was friendly, but overall service was nowhere near polished. Hopefully Zinc will find their stride soon!

2 Sir Winston Churchill Square
Zinc on Urbanspoon

**I meant to post more on our visit last month for dinner, but instead I've added prices to that post. Since it's been so long, I'm not sure I can accurately reflect on the evening. Hopefully this will serve as a bit of an update to accompany the post from our last visit.


Anonymous said...

What a great way to celebrate finishing exams. I've heard nothing but mixed reviews about Zinc, but the photos you took certainly make the place and the food look delicious. I will have to try it myself one day. Oh, and that Creme Brulee! My goodness, they aren't shy with the blow torch. I love it! Far better than getting a bowl of custard with a token pass of flame over top.

Marianne said...

Me too, and I think I have mixed feelings about it also. But it certainly has potential. Thanks, Cathy.

I have the same feelings about creme brulee... the sugar is the best part! Don't be stingy! They definitely delivered on that. Cheers!

A Canadian Foodie said...

Food is good. Plated beautifully. Portion sizes range from far too big (soup) to far too small (frewh fish)... that's just me

erika edith said...

So many good things- 1.) finishing exams 2.) the un-burger 3.) your upcoming costal vacations. Congratulations!

Marianne said...

Valerie - I agree. The portion sizes were quite large and we couldn't finish everything.

Erika - Yes, lots of good things at once! I love that! Thanks!

Chris said...

Geez two visits already. I'm just going to go ahead and invite myself along during your next visit ;)

Marianne said...

Sounds good, Chris!

Anonymous said...

You sound like you expected things to go badly and you do know that you walked in right when they were closing for lunch?? I guess that some people get just what they expect.

Marianne said...

I wouldn't say we expected things to go badly, but you can't help compare to any previous encounters with a restaurant - the food and staff. This visit was nearly a year ago and we've been back since a couple times and have enjoyed it.

But as far as walking in just when they were closing, they did seat us. We would have understood if they turned us away. If you're going to seat me, than I still "expect" full service, no matter what time.