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Zinc: Modern American Food (New Haven, CT)

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Exploring New Haven's downtown, I walked down Chapel Street away from Church Street at just about eight in the evening. I supposed that with such proximity of both Yale University and downtown New Haven, I would be able to find somewhere interesting to go for dinner. I looked in the window at Zinc, subtitled Modern American Food. What I saw was dim lighting, dark décor, and elegant. After a quick look at the menu posted on the window, I walked in.

As I was dining alone, I headed for the first available seat at the bar rather than a table. At the end of the bar I was afforded a good view of what was happening in the restaurant. The bartender seemed comfortably busy, chatting easily among the half-dozen people at his bar and the wait staff coming to him for drinks for their tables. A man well-dressed for an evening out sat a few seats down from me, sipping from a glass what appeared to be Chardonnay. A group of women sat at the other end of the bar, talking among themselves and with the wait staff.

Business appeared to be brisk—usually a good sign on a Tuesday evening. I ordered a Scotch and looked over the menu. A few minutes later, the Chardonnay was pretty much gone and its drinker was being consoled by some of the wait staff; apparently his date wasn't even going to get started. As the restaurant got increasingly busy, the ladies cleared out, leaving me alone at the bar.

“Sorry to clear out your bar,” I offered to the bartender. I assured him that while I've been known to clear a room, I've never before managed to clear out a bar.

“They all work here,” he told me.

I inquired about various options on the menu, ultimately settling on a chop salad to begin. For the main course, I took his recommendation for a hanger steak and a glass of Syrah.

Everything was prepared nearly perfectly; service, ambiance, and location also receive high marks. Any time that a restaurant manages to get its employees to visit the place when they're not working, something good is happening. Finding just what they're doing right is worth doing in person should you find yourself in the area.

Created by cmcurtin
Last modified 2008-06-29 02:26 PM
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