Zin: "Shagadellic, baby!" Top 5 Page for this destination Zin Tip by Carmanah

Zin, Vancouver: 1 reviews and 1 photos

  Vietnamese Coffee Custard (photo from website)
by Carmanah

On February 15th my parents, my boyfriend and I joined up with my sister to celebrate her 22nd birthday. Zin was her choice, and the night after Valentine's Day just happened to be the best time for us to all get together. It was a good thing in the end, as we were practically the only people in the restaurant the entire time. As a result we got their complete attention, along with immaculate, impeccable service and food that has since put Zin at the top of my favourite restaurants.

Zin's dining room as a space, aesthetically-speaking, is a throw-back to the 1960's. The booths are wide - dark tables with bright red and orange striped seatbacks. Circular orange patterns cover the red walls and there's those geometric orange modernist motifs on the red curtains - a pattern you'd expect to see on the dresses of Austin Powers' adoring fans... yet it works in Zin very well.

The vibe in general at Zin is cool, fun and relaxed. The servers are professional and passionate about what they do. Our server went well beyond our expectations... taking our jackets for us and hanging them up... letting us know about specials still in creation that we could possibly try... telling us all the ins about how to prepare certain ingredients just like how we saw them on our plates. If we had a question, she would do everything she could to answer, even if that meant going back into the kitchen to ask the chef.

The menu at Zin is quite ecclectic and international. They range from Asian, European to Latin American. For example, my father and my boyfriend had the weekly tasting menu which featured Middle Eastern cuisine (baked apples stuffed with lentils, lamb and beef), French cuisine (braised duck leg with pomegranite and cinnamon), and halva - a dessert made of rosewater, saffron, and pistachios.

I was also quite pleasantly surprised by the music - playing my favourite Kruder & Dorfmeister albums, while also throwing in some Broken Social Scene. It was definitely a good night.

Favorite Dish: When we first sat down, we were given a complementary appetizer of whipped goat's cheese and basil with baked pruschutto - delicious! Everyone was served one bite's worth, just as a little taster for what was yet to come.

To start we ordered the Goat Cheese Fondue ($9) which was unlike any other fondue I've had. It was rich, smooth and divine. This was accompanied with toasted pieces of sourdough baguette, walnut rye and fresh red grapes. The fondue, while rich in flavour, was still light on our stomachs. The 5 of us easily shared this without filling up, and I would imagine even 2 people could eat this without ruining their appetite.

As an entrée I had the Tuna Mole ($24) - pan-seared Ahi tuna so that it's cooked on the outside but rare on the inside, served with salsa verde (marinated quartered green tomatoes), bell pepper, roasted corn tamale (served in a corn husk and tasted like it was cooked fresh in Mexico!), mole sauce and a few drops of dark truffle coulis. The tuna was prepared perfectly - sliced adequately thin so that it was easy to eat, and sprinkled with coarse salt to bring out its taste while dipped in mole sauce. It was the best ahi tuna I've had... which is saying a lot, as it's one of my favourites and I often order it if it's on a menu.

Because it was the day after the big Valentine's Day rush, Zin had decorated our plates with exotic orchid flowers as a garnish - the left-over flowers that weren't used on Valentine's meals the night before. It was definitely one of the most aesthetically-pleasing plates of food I've been served in a very long time.

For dessert I had the Vietnamese Coffee Custard ($7) served with a side of deep-fried condensed milk spring rolls, lemon-grass syrup and seasonal berries. The custard was just like a crème caramel, except it was darker in colour and tasted like coffee. It was very luxurious!

Oh, and the lemon-grass infused vodka with Soho lychee liqueur with candied starfruit? Oooohhhh...

Address: 1277 Robson Street, Vancouver
Price Comparison: more expensive than average
Directions: On the north side of Robson Street just east of Jervis Street, located on the bottom floor of the Pacific Palisades Hotel.
othercontact: reservations@zin-restaurant.com
Phone: (604) 408-1700
Rating: 5
Theme: Eclectic/International
Website: http://www.zin-restaurant.com

Review Helpfulness: 3.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Updated Feb 17, 2005
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