No matter how you view the French, you cannot deny they know their food. And there are few better places for French cuisine in the Valley than Zinc Bistro. There even is a miniature model of the Eiffel Tower in the middle of the quaint restaurant to make you feel like you're in the heart of Paris.
Though I am sure Zinc's duck confit is superb, I didn't venture to Kierland for traditional French cooking. No, I was attracted to Zinc for their burger.
During lunch, Zinc offers two types of burger: the bacon bleu or the truffled Gruyere. I opted for the unique truffled Gruyere, which along with Gruyere cheese is topped with tomatoes and arugula.
The Patty: 9 Often with a burger, I lose my self-control and find myself vacuuming up the main dish in about fiveminutes, but with this burger, I knew I had to savor each bite, as this was one fine piece of cow. With a limited amount of toppings, Zinc proves that a good burger is all about the patty, a patty so succulent and full of flavor that a little burger juice dribbles down the sides. And with its firm exterior and warm, soft interior, this patty was able to satisfy my insatiable desire for burgers.
The Toppings: 7 These toppings may not "wow" you but, damn, if they don't get the job done. What's special about this burger's toppings is, of course, the truffled Gruyere cheese. The Gruyere adds a sweet and a tad of salty flavoring. Mix in some truffle oil and you get a bold, rich taste. And though tomatoes and arugula may not sound like much, they were nothing to sneeze at. The thick slice of vine ripe tomato was juicy, and the arugula was seasoned with garlic and lemon to enhance its natural peppery flavor. The Bun: 9 A lot of chefs have turned to the brioche bun. It's as though brioche is the new sesame seed and taking over the bun world. Zinc is no different in that it slides its tender patty between two lightly toasted sides of a brioche bun, but the taste is certainly special. With its full-bodied flavor and crunchy texture the bun perfectly complements the melted Gruyere along with the sumptuous patty.
The Fries: 9 If I were to have one regret about my meal at Zinc's, it would be not shelling out the extra cash for some truffle Parmesan fries. And I don't mean this an insult to Zinc's "house" fries. In fact, I enjoyed the regular fries so much that I can't even imagine how good the truffle Parmesan fries must be. The house fries, deep-fried to a light golden-brown, were tossed in marjoram and seasoned with smoked paprika for a little kick. And on the side of the mountainous serving came a creamy smoked paprika aioli, which is absolutely heavenly on a fry.
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The Price: 3 This is another place, unfortunately, which serves fries a la carte. It's $12 for the burger and then you've gotta tack on an extra $5 for the fries, which seems unnecessarily high. The quality and the amount of the fries given does help a little, but still -- $17 for a burger and fries, however good, is just too steep.
A great burger and the fries are amazing, and I'm pretty sure I'll be making a return visit to try the truffle Parmesan fries. The price really kills this score, but if we're talking strictly food, this might just be metro Phoenix's best burger-fry combination.