The recent transformation of the art gallery into an amazing piece of art in itself also brought in some new addtions - starting with a fancy place to nosh. I was really excited about dining at Zinc. Afterall, Edmonton is uninspired when it comes to dining. We are a city full of people who just likes the meat and potatoes... and have all the chain restaurants to whet that appetite.
We walked in only to find that they had cancelled our reservations - very unprofessional. Their reaction to it was even worse. They seemed reluctant to give us a table and even asked if we would be 'quick'. They seated us in the half empty restaurant. Immediately, an over-eager waiter with a total lack of grace came by. Over the course of 5 minutes, he managed to interrupt our conversation 3 times. I was not too impressed.
Looking through the menu, I was least impressed with the prices. The appetizers ranged from $15-$25 whereas the entrees ranged from $28-$44. This was not going to be a cheap meal. The entrees didn't sound appetizing as most of its dishes seemed to be influenced heavily by mediterranean spices/flavours/ingredients.
I settled for 2 appetizers (which cost about $30) and my partner in crime settled with the black cod.
The first appetizer I had was a Black Tea Cured Arctic Char and Rare Tuna. It was served with a Fennel and Orange Phyllo Crisp, Crushed Avocado Mousse, and Olive Oil Ganache. The verdict? The cured arctic char was tough, cold, and flavourless. The only good thing on the plate was the rare tuna which went well with the orange mousse inside the phyllo crisp.
My second appetizer dish was the Madeira Braised “Spring Creek Ranch”Beef Cheeks with wild Mushrooms and Leek Tart, Rhubarb and Green Tomato Chutney Shaved White Callebaut Chocolate. Quite honestly, the beef cheeks were really good but reminded me of beef brisket and green onions. I couldn't really taste the rhubarb or green tomato chutney and the wild mushroom and leek tart was really just a tower composed of flatbread, mushrooms, and leek. It fell apart and was really hard to eat with the beef cheek.
The Black Cod, which was Poached in a Barigoule Stock, and served with a Warm Fennel Salad,
Brunoise of Cucumber and Potato in Crème Fraiche, Wild Boar Bacon, Basil Tarragon Emulsion. Again, it was really hard to taste the ingredients. The cod itself was very well poached but bland and was TINY. It was twice the cost of an appetizer (at $36) yet it was pretty much the same size as my arctic char/tuna dish.
My overall impression - although Zinc is trying really hard with their extras (warm, fresh baked brioche, honey butter, and an amuse bouche) what you're paying for will leave a dent in your wallet but a hungry feeling in your stomach. The waiters were inexperienced and rude ( I had a waiter bump my chair quite roughly as I was dining) as they seemed to leave no room between their tables. I doubt they would even know where to begin if I asked for a wine suggestion. The beautiful glass wall only served as a viewing screen for diners as we watched in amusement and horror as the police pushed a drunken homeless man against the glass as they frisked him...
I don't mind paying an arm and a leg for good food and good service but Zinc left me with an overall feeling of 'meh'... and the thinking that for half the price, I could probably get similar food at a chain restaurant. The point of fine dining is to be able to taste exotic foods and enjoy delicate and creative presentations. Despite all the fancy ingredients, I was unable to taste anything spectacular.