Chicago >Food & Dining > Bistrot Zinc
1131 N State St, Chicago, IL | Directions 6061041.902769 -87.628338
Neighborhoods: Near North Side, Central
great selection and reasonable prices – we were looking for a french restaurant and we couldn't have been happier to find this gem. great food and a nice selection for everyone. from appetizers to entrees you will not be disappointed. it's location is obscure but well worth the effort to find it.
Delicious food, good service – My husband and I enjoyed a delicious and relaxing dinner at Bistrot Zinc last night. We were seated immediately, having made reservations, crusty and chewy bread was served promptly. Our waiter was attentive and arrived right away to tell us the specials and take our drink orders (the wine list did seem a little small for a French restaurant). I had the soupe du jour (a delicious lentil soup with Indian/Moroccan flavors) which was perfect on a chilly evening. For the entrees, my husband and I ordered off of the seasonal menu. He had the skate, which was fantastic -- flaky and buttery, paired interestingly with lime and a side of velvety mashed potatoes. I had the gnocchi with butternut squash and broccoli rabe, which was rich and succulent, the French gnocchi with a wonderful creamy texture. We were too full for dessert, but all of the items sounded wonderful.
Our only complaint would be the valet situation. We pulled into the valet loading zone and asked the hostess to call the valet for us. We handed off our keys. When we were leaving, we again asked for the valet to be called and stepped outside, only to discover that the car was exactly where we had left it. Why were we stll charged $10 for a self-park job? It was quite strange. When we return (and we will definitely be back, the food was delicious, and there are plenty of other things on the menu that we want to try), we'll consider parking further away and walking just to avoid the awkwardness and sense of frustration we felt as we drove away.
Fabulous French – We went to Bistrot Zinc for a light lunch so we only ordered the french onion soup, mussles and fries, but the meal was fabulous. I especially recommend the mussels -- they were so plump and meaty, I was full just from this appetizer. And the taste was delicious, enough that I ate half the bread which I soaked into the mussel broth. The french onion soup was also delicious. And the fries were fresh -- home made fries as opposed to frozen. A wonderful meal. The only negative -- we sat by the window and there were too many flies.
Excellent, Fun Bistro – I live in the Gold Coast and have been dining regularly at Bistrot Zinc since they opened. They have quite a few neighborhood regulars like me, as well as a variety of business diners and tourists. There are many restaurants in this neighborhood, but I keep going back to Bistrot Zinc because of its combination of consistently good food and accommodating, friendly staff. One of my favorite dishes there is the charcuterie plate which has French cheeses, sausage, a liver mousse pate and grapes. I was surprised to read another diner?s allegation that there was mold on the grapes. From time to time the grapes sit right next to the pate, and the mousse may find its way on to a grape or two, but having dined at Bistrot Zinc at least twice a week over the last ten years, I have never seen mold on anything I was served. In my experience the people who run BZ take both food and service very seriously and the charcuterie plate is one of my favorites.
If they are offering the poached chicken with vegetables as one of the specials - take advantage of it. The tender chicken is rolled around homemade stuffing and poached in a rich chicken broth. Unusual dish and delicious.
Other favorites: escargot, homemade chips at the bar (goes well with martinis), crepes, grilled salmon (crisp outside, moist inside), waitstaff and getting cooking tips from Chef Tim.
Inedible food... – Was served food with MOLD growing on it! Both hostess and waiter acknowledge the problem, immediately apologized and replaced my plate, but the manager came out to very loudly insist (for the horrified customers around me) that the mold I saw was not actually mold, but a "mousse" that brushed onto the plate. Funny that the mold I, my boyfriend, the hostess and waiter saw was fuzzy and white.... (I would recommend staying away from any "mousse" they serve here as well!) The manager insisted repeatedly that I was mistaken (despite my clarifying that I treat infectious diseases for a living and have seen many molds in my career), and made a big deal about how they would "of course" replace the dish, as if she was doing me a huge favor. Would look elsewhere if you want to enjoy a healthy, fungus-free meal.
a lttile french ambience in the windy city – We loved this little bistrot; the menu was interesting and true to French bistrot food. The food was well executed and presented; do try the mushroom soufle / roasted corn appetizer. We tried halibut, and osso buco which were both fabulous. Skip the Mousse au Chocolat, which is well paired with anissette, but in no way meets the bar set by its Parisian equivalent. The ambience in the bistrot is warm and lively like the ones we have visited in Paris. The service was excellent. Catch this place as an alternative to the usual menu with the usual suspects.
Excellent Steak Frite outside of Paris – It was a beautiful summer evening prior to enjoying a night at the Back Room, and the doors to the outside were wide open. While we were unable to sit next to the windows, we weren't far away, and I was still able to enjoy the zinc bar. Our waitress, while friendly, was not particularly attentive, and when we finally needed to leave, we had to ask repeatedly for our check. Thankfully the food did not disappoint.
Having been in Paris a year ago and having enjoyed the best Steak Frite at L'Entrecote de Relais, I was certain that I would be disappointed in the Steak Frite at Bistro Zinc. While not quite as good, it was a happy reminder of my experience in Paris, and my companions also enjoyed their meals as well. My glass of champagne also made the meal memorable, but there was no time for dessert since our waitress had not been particularly attentive.
I should mention that the valet attendant was extremely helpful and was able to park our vehicle in a location easily accessed after our evening at the club. We tipped him well upfront and after dinner.
Nice experience – My husband and I went Saturday night and the service was friendly and quick. We walked in about 8:30 and had to wait for about 30 minutes. Not bad for a Saturday night!
I ordered the spinach and brie crepe, I think it might have been the best crepe in the world! It was absolutely perfect. My husband had the steak....tough and somewhat overcooked with not much flavor. They have a great wine list. Lots to chose from in the $30.00 range.
I would recommend this place to anyone but would not recommend the steak. Definitely try the crepes if you go!
Don't Get Your Hopes Up – I went here hoping to have a wee taste of the café food I would eat fanatically in Paris--alas, no deal. The restaurant itself was cute (a bit large for a bistro, wink wink), but beware: it's located in an area on Chicago populated with crenellated brownstones, Jags, a Barneys, and (get this!) a Prada boutique. So that should warn ye. Anyway, my dad and brother had never had escargots, so I ordered that. Ew. First of all, they weren't in their shells, second of all, it was more minced garlic than actual protein nuggets of sluggy goodness, and thirdly, mine were cold. Yup, cold. Take heart, I told myself. Moules (mussels!) a dish I loved loved loved in France. I guess I don't pay attention to the warnings about not ordering seafood if it's not REALLY fresh. These were ginormous--not the wee, sweet little goodies served fresh in paris. They were slimy and bitter. However, the sandwiches, although not very French, were very good. Bistrot Zinc would be more successful, I think, if they stopped struggling so hard to do the French bistro thing and do an "interpretation" instead. (Try the lamb sandwich, it's fab). That's not anything you'd get in a Paris bistro, but it was way better than the "French" food.
Great French Food – I've been to Bistrot Zinc for brunch and lunch and both meals were delicious. The french onion soup is great (a little sweet, i prefer a little spice, but still good). The turkey and brie sandwich was great! The potato and fennel soup was delicious! I will definitely be back!
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