Review of Bistrot Le Zinc

Completely spur of the moment tonight, T and I decided to eat at Le Zinc, a new bistro in Cleveland Park. Formidably, it's across the street from the always-packed and loved 2 Amy's and less formidably so, next door to Something Sweet, the tasty yet oddly smelling cupcake/ice cream/salad shop owned by Jetties. Le Zinc has a great look -super neighborhoody, copper pots hanging throughout the open kitchen, a pressed tin ceiling, antique (looking at least) mirror behind the bar, rounded marble bar top, cozy yet not claustrophobic seating.  We initially thought of going for a drink but almost immediately decided to stay for dinner. Sitting at the bar as we love to do, T started with a Hennepin beer, and I with a Syrah/Grenache/Mourvedre blend; both were quite nice, and upon its arrival, I was quite pleased to find the bread warm (y'all might know how I feel about that; if not, cold bread is, for the most part in my opinion, an inauspicious way to venture into a meal and a poor reflection on the values of the restaurant). The bartender was friendly but not pesty -yay!- and we ordered the French onion soup with Gruyère to start. We both thought it was very pleasing, but I found it a tad sweet.

As we emptied our first round of drinks, T moved on to the official beer of Brugges, the Straffe Hendrik Tripel while I seconded my first round with a Burgundian Pinot. Yum. For dinner, T went with the steak frites with horseradish flan, cippolini onions and Cabernet reduction, while I opted for the halibut with celeriac puree, chanterelles and mussels. One really should disclose whether there is a soupçon of cream or an extremely generous main-ingredient situation going on. I don't like fish and cream, by and large, and found the celery root overshadowed, the halibut overcooked anyway, and the mussels hiding as if they were scared of a larger predatory fish lurking about. T liked his steak, I loved his frites, and while the flan was a cool side, the horseradish could have been a bit more subtle.

Against my better judgment, I ordered dessert: the lemon tart. It was a traditional lemon cream tart but had fresh lemon slices on top and was then brûleed. This sounded great in theory but the fresh lemon overpowered the lemon cream, and the tart shell was waxy and blah.

Overall, we loved the ambiance and drink selection (a whole menu of champagne cocktails!) and would return but with much diminished expectations regarding the food. A B/B- but a nice new spot in the area.