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Restaurants & Bars 4

Zin - Healdsburg - Shines Again

Dave MP | May 11, 200810:23 PM

I just got back to SF from a weekend in Mendocino and Sonoma Counties....tonight 7 of us ate dinner at Zin and had a very good meal. I recommended that we go to Zin for a friend's bday after my great meal there last fall. Here's a link to that report:

Tonight's dinner was very good as well. For appetizers, we shared:

Deep Fried String Beans w/ Mango Salsa - These were very good, serving was generous, and the salsa was delicious. I normally wouldn't order this type of appetizer, but Zin does it well.

Shrimp Scampi - This also contained sausage and was served with little toasts. Shrimp was nothing special, the sauce was good though, especially for bread dipping.

Caesar Salad - This was fine but nothing special. I'd skip this next time in favor of a more interesting salad.

Each of us had our own main dish, though I got to try a taste of almost everything, and all of the main dishes were good.

I had the blue plate special of fried chicken, collard greens, mashed potatoes and biscuits w/ honey butter. I thought the chicken was good, but not great, and the serving was a bit small. The mashed potatoes were very good, but not particularly interesting. Ditto the collard greens. So while I enjoyed my meal and it was well prepared, I didn't think it was as "special" as the other main dishes, and I wouldn't necessarily recommend this dish given the other choices.

Two dining companions had the pork chop w/ apple sauce, andouille sausage stuffing and greens. This is really excellent - it's the dish I had last time and remains my favorite dish at Zin. I particularly like the apple sauce and the stuffing, though the pork chops were cooked perfectly and the presentation was lovely as well.

Two other dining companions had a halibut special over risotto. This was very good, nice combination of flavors at work - the plate looked kind of boring, but the taste wasn't boring at all. Another had a pasta dish that was very rich (lots of cream and prosciutto) but very good, and another had the skirt steak, which was very impressive looking and was delicious. Served w/ fried mushrooms and onions, and with potatoes I think as well....overall, very good, and everyone was happy with their main dish.

For dessert we shared 3 things:

Homemade donuts w/ zinfandel grape jelly - Awesome. Freshly fried on order, grape jelly was delicious. Tasted like fried dough at the fair, but fancier.

Banana cake w/ caramel and vanilla ice cream - Like a good banana bread with lots of delicious caramel and homemade vanilla ice cream. Good, but outshined by the donuts.

Brownie Sundae - Better than last fall, but still the weakest IMO. I don't think I really like their Kona Chip ice cream very much - but it might be just me. The brownie was decent this time, not dry at all, but still not anything too special. The donuts definitely won the prize for me.

Service was professional and friendly. Our server was very honest about his opinions - he told us *not* to order the creme brulee since he felt the coffee flavor (which was the current choice) wasn't really that good. I was sad to hear this, since the vanilla creme brulee last fall was amazing, but I also believed him and I don't think I'd like coffee flavored creme brulee anyway.

I like the space in Zin, there were many families celebrating mother's day, yet the space was surprisingly quiet, and it was possible for all 7 of us to have a conversation together at the table.

The wine list is very nice, we had an 04 Zin from Christopher Creek which was pretty jammy.

So Zin seems to be a reliable choice for a nice meal in Healdsburg....especially if you like pork chops and donuts.

Dave MP

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