June 18, 2007

San Francisco, CA

Le Zinc
~ 4063 24th Street,
Tel : 415 647 9400

Last night we dined at Le Zinc. I had the impression Le Zinc would be very casual. I was pleasantly surprised when we arrived to find that it was casual but also romantic - very French and charming. Our waitress was French, very pleasant and knowledgeable about the menu. Even though I wish she would had began by telling us what they did not have on the menu; you will see why. We started with a couple glasses of Lillet. The Lillet was served over ice with a swirl of orange peel - I had never had Lillet served this way and I really enjoyed how refreshing it was. It was the perfect way to start the evening especially since it was warm outside and it seemed to be the perfect summer cocktail. We had wanted to order a Crab and Avocado dish only to find out, they did not actually have it this evening. So we ordered the Special Shrimp appetizer and a Warm Goat Cheese Salad to start the evening. The shrimp was very interesting as they wrapped the shrimp around a very small pepper, which only had a small amount of fire to it, just enough to really enhance the grilled shrimp flavor. The Warm Goat Cheese Salad was very simple - a blend of mixed salad greens with light vinaigrette, along the side was a small slice of goat cheese on the top of a toasted piece of baguette which was then drizzled with some honey. Now I loved the combination but I was disappointed in the size of the goat cheese and the fact that it had been warmed awhile back as it was not as soft as it should be. For our main course we ordered the Steak Frite and the Lamb Special with a 2003 Margaux. The Margaux was beautiful - full bodied with lots of jammy flavors which exploded in your mouth on the first sip. We knew this was going to go very well with the full red meat dishes we had ordered. The Steak Frite was a big disappointment mainly because the cut was terrible. They used a hanger cut and this particular one was very small, not the size of what you usually get in a French restaurant neither in the states nor in France. As well it had been over pan-fried, very crisp on the outside, though it was rare instead. It lacked flavor and could have definitely used an added touch of Roquefort butter or some sautéed shallots not to mention a little salt and pepper would have been a nice addition to the cooking process. The fries were the winner for this dish - cooked to perfection, light golden brown in color, crisp on the outside and soft in the inside. The lamb special was fantastic and I enjoyed every bite! There was a small rack of lamb as well as a small cut of meat next to it. The lamb was coated with Herbs de Provence and was cooked to perfection - nicely done medium rare - bursting with flavor. The lamb was served with a French green bean dish that was enhanced with Tarragon. I normally do not like Tarragon and was concerned when I saw it sprinkled all over the plate; but, it was done very nicely, just enough to bring out the flavor of the beans and the butter sauce. There was also a sunchoke puree served along side this dish - I could take it or leave it, nothing really great or terrible to say about it. I was really looking forward to the Baba au Rhum for dessert as it is hard to find in the states on a regular bases and I was very disappointed when our waitress said she did not have it. We opted for the Profiteroles and a Crème Brulee. Both dishes were “good” but not out of this world. I had not had Profiteroles in years and have been thinking of making them for a couple months now, so I did enjoy them, but, they could have skipped the almond slices which were sprinkled all over the dish and I would have enjoyed it more. The Crème Brulee was good but not as good as what we usually enjoy. Overall, we loved Le Zinc and give it a 4 fork rating, only because they did not have 2 of the dishes we really wanted as well as the Steak Frite. Will we go back? Definitely!

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