Wednesday, April 6, 2011
Yes, I did write the name correctly. I am not referring to Bistrot Zinc in Chicago, this is actually the cafe that serves the corporate hotel, The H, in Midland, Michigan where my family lives. The chef at Cafe Zinc has a very impressive resume, working at Jean Georges and Von in New York. Dinner service at Cafe Zinc is bistro fare but they also serve lunch and breakfast. In my trips up to Midland, I have eaten at every meal time. This time I was there for breakfast and dinner. There are some good things on all meal menus but some meals are better than others. The bread that is made here is fantastic and you can never go wrong with brioche. The name of the place (as well of the other elements associated with the hotel, The H, O2 Bar, The Table, and CaFe Zn) refer back to chemistry because Midland is about Dow Chemical. This has a special place in my heart because I am a chemist. The restaurant has a bistro look with a pastry case and a bread shelf along the wall behind the bar. There are several four tops around the edges and a big communal table in the center. A lot of the furniture looks worn to help the rustic feel. There is a big chandelier in the room with a very ornate dome that to me describes a protein molecule and there is a fireplace in the middle of the front wall. The hanging sculpture above the fireplace is a little odd. It looks to me like prairie grass. As far as the meals were concerned, I ate dinner there on Friday and breakfast on Sunday. For dinner, I had Oysters Rockefeller as an appetizer. I like oysters and it is a pretty simple dish so I think that the only way that you can screw it up is if the oysters are bad. The oysters were not bad and I really liked it (although my Mother, who I took there for her birthday along with my Dad, didn't care so much for it). My entree was steak frites with herb butter, sautéed peas, lardons and onions, and French fries. Many restaurants offer cheese plates for dessert as does Cafe Zinc but it was the biggest Cheese Plate that I have ever seen. It had cheddar, gruyere, and blue cheese. While there was a lot of cheese, and I do like cheese, there was nothing really notable about any of the cheeses. For breakfast, I ordered an eggs benedict but ended up eating a vanilla french toast made with honeyed walnuts which my Mother ordered and found too sweet to eat. It was more sweet than I would have preferred but I did eat it and I didn't find it horrible (although it was a very big step away from the eggs benedict). I enjoy eating at Cafe Zinc and will probably eat there again but there are a few other restaurants in Midland that I would like to frequent more often.