Location – 1131 N. State (State and Elm)
In one word – Balthazar-esque
Food – As yesterday was Bastille Day, it was only appropriate to indulge in French food. My eating partner and I started with the beet salad – greens with red and yellow beets. bleu cheese and this flavorful vinegrette. The plate was licked clean. Then I went for the onion tart, which is essentially caramelized onions and butter (i.e. deliciousness). The tart comes with a substantial salad (I wish I knew that ahead of time because then I wouldn’t have ordered my initial salad). My eating partner chose a special, the zuchinni pancakes with smoked salmon. I was envisioning stack of flapjacks being placed on the table. Instead, they gave her a plate of mini pancakes (read: REALLY small). Good thing she loaded up on bread at the beginning of the meal. Despite the small size, she seemed to like the zuchinni pancakes. We had to end the meal with dessert, after all it was a celebration, Vive La France! I sampled the creme brulee with Madagascan vanilla. Rich and sweet, everything you want from a creme brulee. My eating partner wiped out the chocolate crepe. I watched her head get dangerously close to licking the plate, so it seemed as though the dish was a hit.
Drink – I partook in the pinot blanc on the menu, which worked for me on that hot evening. My eating partner went for a champagne.
Service – I liked our server. He had a sense of humor and seemed quite honest with his recommendations.
Scene – Whenever I walk into Bistro Zinc, I think of two things 1) it looks like a junior Balthazar, the restaurant in NYC and 2) it feels very Parisian. Despite those two thoughts, I find that you can make the restaurant what you want. It can be a formal date location, good for a casual family brunch or perfect for a last minute dinner plan with a friend.
Dress – You could dress up (not to a suit level, but to a khaki pant level), but you’re also fine in jeans.
Cost – For all that food and wine, I paid $43. Yeah, not cheap, but we didn’t skimp on the meal. I think it’s possible to do a much more scaled back dinner at BZ if you choose.
If you like, try…Bistro Margot, Brasserie Jo