My wife and I can only report a very disappointing experience at Le Zinc -- our first and, surely, last visit there. The maitre d' hotel was friendly, which made a bright enough start to the evening, but things deteriorated rapidly from that point onwards.
The waiter -- an important component of any dining experience -- exhibited an unfriendly and robotic demeanor and was clearly impatient that we took some time to decide on our order even though the restaurant was virtually empty at the time. If that had been our only complaint, I think we'd have been fully able to overlook his lack of bonhomie. However, the food itself was a C- at best.
As starters, we ordered the ravioli and mussels -- a little doughy in the case of the former, and cooked in an uninteresting tomato-based sauce in the case of the latter. We were further ticked off by a tiny serving of bread, followed (on request) by an even more meager second serving.
By far the biggest disappointments were les plats -- the salmon au chou and boeuf bourguignon. The salmon was a nice consistency but tasted as if it had been soaked in salt water for at least three days prior to cooking. And I can say with certainty that the bourguinon was the worst I've ever had. It too was laden with salt and sat amid a pool of gravy that tasted of rehydrated gravy granules. Does that sound appetizing?
After three strikes on appetizers, entrees, and service, we opted instead to forego desert entirely so no comment on that front.
There are so many other winning French bistros in the city that we'd recommend over Le Zinc (Fringale, Le Charme, Chapeau, and Zazie's are among our favorites). Don't waste your money on Le Zinc -- really.
Authentic Parisian Ambiance. I love the sidewalks bistros in Paris, and whenever I feel like its been too long since my last visit, I make the trek from Alameda to Le Zinc. This is the closest I can get to my favorite Parisian bistros on this side of the Atlantic. The food, service and ambiance are all excellent. This is not a snobby place, it is more like an upscale, high-quality neighborhood hang-out. The restaurant is long and narrow, with some sidewalk tables out front and a charming patio out back. A long, antique bar with a zinc top takes up half of the front room. Everytime I go, I always try at least one new dish, and have yet to find one I didn't enjoy. My favorites include the crispy camembert appetizer and the duck with a peach glaze. Before eating here, I didn't think I liked duck, but if you like steak you'll love duck they way it is prepared here. f we're here for dinner, we normally have either the 3-course or 4-course tasting plate. I also often have on the of the wine flights. I have always found the portion sizes adequate (although I usually have the crispy camembert with whatever else I order). This is a great place to come and have a leisurely meal, enjoy the ambiance and the company of your companion.
Brunch was good but icy wait staff. The traditional eggs benedict was good, nothing spectacular and came with roasted fingerling potatoes. Two eggs covered in Hollandaise sauce over English muffins w/slices of ham for $9. The fresh squeeze orange juice (lots of pulp) in a wine glass was pricey for $4 but very sweet. The lamb sandwich was expensive for $12 and came with potatoes. The wait staff barely greet you when you come in the door. We decided to dine here on a whim, enroute next door to get tasty treats from Noe Valley Bakery. The tall blond, slender waitress walks up to you,r table, doesn't say a word, looks at you and places the menus on the table. Returning later, she jots down your orders and walks away. I detected some life in her eyes when we finished eating and asked for the check. Otherwise, I would have thought she was some cold terminator robot sent from the future to impersonate humans.
Le Zinc Stinks. A year ago, we happened upon LE ZINC, in San Francisco?s trendy Noe Valley, for lunch. (4063 24th St.) Although pricy, we really wanted to come back. Yesterday, 1-14-07, we did. What a rip-off. I ordered a $24 dinner. There was about 3 oz of meat, two bites of potatoes and some garlic beans. All told, including two tiny bites of appetizer, there must have been 6 oz of food. I left hungry. This was a sla p in the face. Enough food to live on would have cost them another buck. The wife ordered soup because she was not feeling well. Less than a cup of soup was $7. Salad was probably the same or more. They never mentioned it was not included. Stay away from those cheapskates at LE STINKs.
excellent service!! wonderful food!!. great quaint , neighborhood restaurant. had the price fixe meal, which in addition to the 3 courses, came with two delightful amuses. what a nice surprise! the service was excellent. our server, (the tall woman with brown hair) was extremely knowledgeable of the food and wine. was very attentive to our needs. ( we are high maintenance diners!) restaurant got busy over the course of our stay but everything was right on par. will definitely come back.
Worst Server Beast Ever!.
My girlfriend and I had dinner here on a friday night and chose this place because it looked warm and didnt have a wait. Everything was up to par, the hostess was friendly, people seemed to be having a good time, then,,,,,, Our server ,we'll call her "Big Red", barges up to our table, zero introduction, begins to drone over the daily special almost shouting at us, then leaves the table. My girlfriend and I look at each other shocked and confused not knowing if we were getting ready to see Astin Kutcher come out from behind the bar with a camera crew. Big Red comes back ten minutes later ,asks did we decide, takes the order, and brings back our wine selection ( a terrible 3 oz pour at best ) . We didnt see her again until she droped our entrees unannounced and then walked away. Keep in mind we ordered apps as well and at no point was there ever a quality check on any of the items served.
I honestly get livid thinking about this experience, and even more so when I look at all of the negative reviews here on CS.. Either the owners genuinely dont care, or they dont know how to use a computer to access these reviews.
On a good note the food wasnt bad, and it was the saving grace of the evening, but when you have such a bad initial taste in your mouth its hard to continue to indulge. I do apologize to the chef and the cooks at this restaurant for having to have people like Big Red represent their art work.
Good Food, Average Service, Somber Surroundings.... Early dinner (6 PM on a Thursday)... The place was nearly empty when we arrived; the single waitperson dividing time between tending customers and restocking the wine bar. We were greeted promptly and told to take any table. The place is dark and somber without a sense of warmth or joy. The menu is presented in a folded colorful car, plus another for the prix fixe and still another for the wine list...a complete set for each guest...altogether too many for the small bistro-type tables. Once we began the dining adventure, things definitely improved. We began with a kir and went through the menu(s). We went with the prix fixe, which began with two unexpected, and very good amuse bouche. The first courses were excellent, salad on the one hand, and escargot on the other. Both of the dishes were well executed and well presented. For the second course, I had the salmon and my companion fthe steak frites. Both dishes were nicely presented, but the salmon was flawed by being not just undercooked, but indeed the top 1/3 was raw. I sent it back not once, but twice, before it came out correct. The dessert (seemingly "fresh from the oven") was tarte tatin, served hot (on purpose) on a cold plate, because it was accompanied by a scoop of rich vanilla ice cream. A great combination! By 7:30 PM the place was about two-thirds full and the lone waitperson was joined by two other waitstaff. Service can be disjointed, and is more perfunctuary than personal. You get the sense that no one is patricularly enjoying their work, which is in keeping, I suppose, with the somber setting - mostly browns - the lighting set progressively down to a point where reading of menus becomes difficult. The wine list, like the menu, is short, and the prices are on the high side - too high for a bistro. The music (a bit loud I thought) is totally out of place for a French bistro and seemd better suited for a place with a Latin flair. Will we come back? Absolutely. The food is quite good.
Schizophrenic Restaurant. The first time I came here, I was really pleased. Their prix-fixe menu is a great deal, and the food is reliable French bistro. However, I came back another time on a quiet Wednesday night. As soon as I walked in, the hostess asked me, 'Do you have a reservation?" Ordinarily, I wouldn't have minded but the place was empty! Is she programmed to ask that and make the diners feel unwelcome? They also had 1 waiter for the entire restaurant, and towards the end of the night, it ended up getting somewhat full. So he was running around trying to cater to everyone's needs, and our table ended up being low priority. My steak was really overdone and I won't be going back any time soon because of this unfortunate experience with the service and food.
Decent food; bad service.... We have been to this restaurant many times, and the food has always been decent, but the service has not... We kept coming, although service wasn't fantastic, because it was one of the few places that wasn't completely packed in Noe -when searching for a dinner or brunch place. But recently, after bringing our 10 month old daughter, we got such an attitude from the owner or hostess (blond, middle-aged French woman), that we don't really feel like going back. Our daughter didn't make a peep; all the waitresses and other patrons were very friendly to her, but the hostess was really sour. This has happened a few times in the past, and I kept trying to find excuses for the hostess' bad attitude, thinking "Were we too loud? Are we taking too much room?", but this is it. We are not going back. This is not a place that is family friendly.
Rustic French fare pleases the clean-cut Noe Valley crowd at this popular bistro..
Le Zinc achieves a very Parisian balance between sophisticated and casual, one that lends itself equally well to stopping in for a cafe au lait or a romantic tête-à-tête over dinner. The pretty bar, gilt-framed mirror, even the tile floors conspire to convey a soothing Euro bistro feel and subtly golden lighting seals the deal. Artfully presented and creatively accented, the mid-priced French fare is a good value.
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