Having enjoyed my fill of holiday comfort food with friends and family, I opted to pass on leftovers and went downtown to Palm Springs for dinner with a good friend this past weekend. We ended up at a popular restaurant on the strip that always seems to be busy when I walk by but I have never had the opportunity to dine. Zin American Bistro is in the heart of Palm Springs with a beautiful patio that faces Palm Canyon and the many tourists and locals that visit the strip. I was excited to finally dine where many were raving about but my experience was lackluster.
We were seated on the spacious patio and while it was cool outside, the patio was at a perfect temperature. The wine list is impressive, offering many selections from around the world. We received good service from start to finish; however, the food was not comparable. I enjoyed my first course, a salmon tartar served with crisp crostinis. The bread was very brittle and slightly stale, as if it had been toasted days earlier, but fortunately, fresh bread had already been delivered to our table. The salmon was fresh and a perfect start to the evening. My guest enjoyed her caprese salad which was made with small bite-sized portions of tomato and mozzarella cheese. We were off to a decent start.
After enjoying our first course and a cocktail, it was time for the entrees! Taking the recommendation of a friend, I ordered the braised beef short ribs. The beef was very tender and easily flaked apart. The sauce was a chipotle barbeque sauce that was more of a glaze than a sauce and was strong in barbeque flavor. The beef was served with mashed potatoes, carrots and peas; all were inedible. The carrots were difficult to cut, even with a steak knife, and the peas were clearly not fresh as they were small and shriveled, offering little flavor. The potatoes were dry and literally crumbled apart on the plate. I was disappointed with my meal but my guest was rather pleased with her Macadamia Chicken Schnitzel, served with fingerling potatoes and a cucumber salad. Had the server asked about my meal, I would have certainly ordered something else, but his return to the table came late and my guest was half way through with her meal. I quietly enjoyed my glass of zinfandel that I had hoped to pair with my meal.
After our entrees were cleared, dessert menus were placed on the side of our table, rather than in front of us or in our hands, showing me that they are not proud of their dessert selections; so for the first time in a long time, I did not order dessert. Though pleasant, our server seemed happy to have the table clear and we went on our way. It was a mediocre experience and I while I would like to return and see if there are other meals to rave about, there are many new restaurants that I must try this season. Zin American Bistro is also open for lunch and brunch is offered Saturdays and Sundays from 10am to 3pm.