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Monday 4 April 2011

Zinc Edmonton - Mixed feelings

Rating 7.5/10

Went on the Art Gallery's 1st anniversary night with a large group of friends. In retrospect, maybe not a good idea as the kitchen staff was swamped trying to pull off the catering side for AGA supporters and philantropists and keeping pace with patrons on the resturant side.

Service was a bit spotty - Polite with some mixups despite clarifying twice, and while a nice dinner should take 2hours or so.. a 3.5+hr service time was a bit much, even with plently of wine, cocktails and good company, the long lapses between courses was a bit aggravating. So was waiting over 10min to get the bill after we were notified the resturant was closing.

Decor - shiny metal chrome, gorgeous wood panelling, artsy lighting and funky utensils, high ceilings with huge windows looking at Churchhill Square inside the Art Gallery - how can it not be artsy? Warm ambiance with a lounge feel.

The DRINKS - Nice selection of wine, some of the more "manly" cocktails while sounding interesting had the taste profile of varnish. Ick...bartenders, taste your cocktails when you brainstorm them up. Of the "girly" cocktails, the golden apple was the best one - notes of apple, grape and lychee ... light and refreshing without being cloying or harsh.

The FOOD - being a large group, and with the slightly higher priced "tasting" sizes (1-3 bites) we tried everything on thier menu. While everything was prettily plated, these are the dishes that stood out:
1) Duck - Sourced from Brome Lake, smoked with green tea (is everyone doing this now? but I digress) served with a blueberry reduction and vanilla notes on cherry tomatoes. Executed well with the fat scored and slightly crispy, cooked to medium rare. Paired better with the puree of gingered yam from another dish than the smooshed root vegetable (turnip, potato? not memorable) it was paired with.  Some fellow foodies found the duck a bit too over-salted on its own.
2) Scallops - seared to perfection and served in a delicate demi-glaze on a microsalad. Was tempted to have a few more of these as the tasting size = one medium sized scallop, but we did order almost the entire menu - had to save tummy space.
3) Lobster bisque with baby sprout salad - bit of a misnomer as the literally bite sized salad was more of a bundle of herbs to infuse the bisque as the not too thick cream based broth was poured into the bowl. Tasty with a small lobster chunk or two, and makes a nice light entree or appetizer for those of larger appetites. Not the best one I've had, but definetely gets a passing grade.

Room for Improvement
1) The service. Reasons aforementioned above.
2) Pork - cooked medium, tender though a bit dry and underseasoned.
3) Pasta - elegant presentation with scratch sweet tomato puree sauce - executed well, though some members of our group thought it was a bit bland. Could have used a bit of roasted garlic kick to add some depth.
4) Beef, lamb, multiple sides - unfortuantely, not memorable - literally, they were either bland, ok or we've had better elsewhere.  For the prices at Zinc, the dishes should not only look amazing but taste amazing as well

1) Creme brulee - rich but not too thick with a nice burnt sugar crust that cracked delightfully. But I'm biased.. I love creme brulee.
2) Lava cake - re-heated? Sadly, the center was not molten and the cake was dry. The raspberry sauce wasn't enough to salvage it.
3) Fruit flan/tart of some sort - not outstanding, not memorable

Quibble - spotty service, execution and single note taste profiles of a few dishes, 7.5/10. Overall, most dishes are executed well with good taste profiles, some more complex than others. I may give it another try when they don't have a huge event going on and hopefully the service, attention to detail in timing of the food (some items overcooked) and long service times will be a thing of the past. Reservations required, and are a bit finicky as they're not open all the time for lunch nor dinner. Tasting serving sizes while are a bit more pricey than an entree allows grazers and foodies alike to try an assortment of what the chefs have to offer.

Address: 2 Sir Winston Churchill Square Edmonton, AB
Phone: (780) 392-2501
Hours: Varies, check website
Zinc on Urbanspoon

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