It has now been exactly one month but I’ve finally gotten to writing about the New Year’s Eve dinner Joe booked for us for 2012. It was, of course, at Tzin, one of my favorite restaurants in the downtown area (see my monthly posts 1, 2, 3). With a table for the second seating, this got us the 7-course menu with wine pairings for the night, a first for them. Normally I only get to try 3 – 4 dishes per meal before getting full, so this was very exciting for me! The downside? I was still getting over a cold and feeling tired after a busy shift at work. Although I enjoyed the meal, I was unable to appreciate the wines paired with each dish, as I know for a fact that alcohol definitely does not make my body get better any faster (lesson learned a couple of weeks prior).
Our table was right at the entrance, so unfortunately had lower lighting than some of the others. Pardon the lower quality of the photos, but I can assure you the food was a lot better looking and equally a lot better tasting. The menu for the night was presented to us as soon as we were seated, little confetti stars decorated the table, as well as party favors, including hats, necklaces, and noise makers for the new year.
Starting right on time, our amuse bouche for the night was a tomato and gin “gazpacho” shooter. Amazingly, tasted exactly like a cool, refreshing gazpacho! Loved this as our first dish of the night.
The lobster bisque, butter poached lobster and tomato salsa with chives chantilly, was served next. A very hearty soup and the tomato base balanced with lobster stock was perfect, and not too overpowering. Mixed in with the whipped cream, it was decadent! I could have skipped to dessert at this point and been full!
A grilled vegetable salad served as our third course. On one side: grilled red onions, fennel, red peppers; on the other: a spring mix, all topped with goat feta cheese from Fairwind Farms. I’m not the biggest fan of red peppers, but this dish was nicely done and packed with flavor! The lemon vinaigrette was a great contrast to the char on the vegetables.
Our first main course was arguably the best course of the night. There were many in the night, but I think the general consensus in the room was that this dish was the winner. How do I know? Because the joyous sounds of noise makers, clinking of wine glasses, and hearty conversation died down once this was served. That and because I overheard the table next to us, a gentleman exclaiming this is the best bacon he’s ever had. Agreed. Now I’ve had the braised Irvings Farm bacon dish from their regular menu here before. This has topped that. The smoky depth of flavor, the amount of fat to meat ratio, the sweetness of some sort of honey or maple mixture… to die for. On top of that, the appearance of gnocchi (my fave!) mixed in with Gruyere cheese (another fave!) and fresh herbs. Wow.
To cleanse off the bacon fat coating your lips, a palate cleanser was our next dish: olive oil and lemon sorbet, topped with orange flavored pop rocks! Very fun and very interesting, to say the least! Don’t think I’ve ever been served pop rocks for dinner before and most likely never will be by anyone else again. The flavors actually blended well together and most tables seemed to enjoy the exhilarating popping in their mouths.
Second main course: a grilled Spring Creek Range tenderloin, with a brown butter parsnip purée, foie gras broccolini, potato pavé, with a Beanaise sauce. When all components sound delicious, you can bet good money that the entire dish will be delicious! I was a big fan of the purée and the sauce, but I wished there was an alternative for the broccolini. Something just didn’t jive well with the broccolini, although the foie gras flavor was there. A solid dish.
Last, but definitely not least, was the flourless chocolate cake. Both Joe and I have had the cake, offered on their regular menu consistently as of October when I started going. This time served with an espresso crème anglais and hazelnut brittle, instead of their usual fresh fruit sorbet. Not sure if it was just me, but I thought this had become a bit more moist compared to when we had it last. Either way, delicious! Comments from our neighbors agreed: “Best flourless chocolate cake ever!”
With all of that in our bellies, maybe a full glass of wine in mine, and more than a few in Joe’s (he had the rest of my glasses), we opted to leave early to see the fireworks at Churchill Square. A great evening with amazing food, thank you Tzin! I’ll see you next month for another post!TZiN Wine and Tapas
10115 – 104 St
(780) 428-8946 Twitter: @tzin104
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