We’ve eaten at Zin Restaurant many times over the years and it’s a favorite Healdsburg locals' spot. The collaboration of childhood friends Jeff Mall (Exec. Chef) and Scott Silva (Front of the House & Wine), Zin offers a different blue plate special every day and heavier comfort food fare.
There is bar seating at Zin and reservations are recommended, as it’s a popular restaurant, even during the week. We like that Zin marks dishes on its seasonal menu "Fresh from the Zin Garden" which denotes elements grown organically in Sonoma County in their own garden.
We found the food a bit too heavy and not our style on this visit, which is in keeping with our memories of the restaurant.
Bruschetta with Fresh Homemade Mozzarella Cheese Toybox tomatoes, basil and extra virgin olive oil
Crispy and slightly garlic-y. Cheese was really good. The tomatoes were firm and juicy. A pleasant start.
Mexican Beer-Battered Green Beans with Mango Sauce
Crunchy with good quality green beans – but tempura style batter was on the greasy side. The mango dip was a nice sweet compliment – but perhaps wasn’t the perfect match.
Roasted Pear salad with Radicchio, Balsamic, Bellwether Farms Pepato Cheese and a Honey & Walnut dressing
A pile of sweet red shredded radicchio and more honey dressing drizzled on the side of the plate. A half a roasted pear sliced on top and 3 point slices of pepato cheese made for a weird salad. Too much dressing made it too sweet and not enjoyable.
Baby Mixed Greens with Pecans and Pickled Onions with Point Reyes Blue Cheese Dressing (or Mustard Vinaigrette)
Heavy on the dressing the salad was mixed really well and heavy but enjoyable. I would order salads easy on the dressing or perhaps request the dressing on the side next time.
House made Ravioli stuffed with Roasted Butternut Squash and ricotta cheese in a brown butter sauce with sage and walnut pesto
The interesting part was the pureed sage in the butter sauce. I didn’t notice the brown butter flavor. The elements didn’t seem to hold together here in a classic dish. The squash was washed out by the slightly chewy pasta. Tiny cubes of squash that garnished would have been nicely enhanced by some crispy or caramelized walnuts and some fried sage. I would pass next time.
Grilled Applewood Smoked Pork Chop with Homemade apple sauce over braised greens and cornbread and andouille sausage stuffing
The pork chop was tender and good with a nice flavor. There was a lot of stuffing for our taste – and it seemed like a plate filler but the seasoning all round was good, albeit the a little dry. A nice little dollop of fresh applesauce added a zing to the chop.
Blue Plate Special: Monday: St. Louis Style Ribs with Zin BBQ sauce, Coleslaw and Kennebec Potato Fries
The chili BBQ sauce was on the hot-spicy side and detracted from the delicious ribs which were very tender. A weird side of Zin BBQ sauce (which would have been nicer on the ribs) to dip the fries in… The fries were good not great (we ordered them on the side). Not quite crispy enough if there was any complaint to be made. The coleslaw was really good – nice balance of flavors and good ingredients.
Fresh Fish of the day:Sole with a saffron butter sauce and crème fraiche mashed potatoes?
Really good flavors meshed well. With your eyes closed you were eating battered and deep fried fish, without the batter - which seemed wrong for a delicate fish like sole. Still it was easy to eat.
Pan Roasted Muscovy Duck Breast with Honey & Whole Grain Mustard Glaze, Autumn Hash of Sweet Potatoes, Fennel, Red Onion and Apple. Topped with Crispy Parsnips
A bit on the chewy side. Cooked medium-rare to rare. It had good flavor. The sweet potato hash was not good, the elements just not crispy or caramelized or mixed up enough. The crispy parsnip chips were great.
2002 Mojon's Bench Cabernet Franc Alexander Valley
We liked this wine and it was good choice for the food as well as being pleasant to drink on it's own. Good value.
You may notice that we do not give out a lot of praise. Having been to so many high-quality restaurants, it's pretty tough to impress us.
Most of our reviews are based on just one visit. We neither have the time nor the money (or often, the inclination) to visit most restaurants multiple times. So, please keep in mind that a single-visit review is a snapshot - the restaurant may be "on it" that day - or not. If the meal has a calamity involved (foreign objects in the food, wine poured on us, etc.) we try not to let it shade the overall review.
We pay for the food and beverages; restaurants never comp us. We try to be discreet about taking photos so that the staff doesn't notice/get an idea we're going to do a review. We rarely take notes in the restaurant.
Like the rest of our website, we update our restaurant review pages based upon subsequent visits.