Some friends and I stayed in Palm Springs after a long hard day of shopping at the Cabazon Outlets. Note to self: never, EVER go to the outlets the day after Christmas. (What were we thinking???) We stood at the intersection of Arenas and Palm Canyon drive and debated between the modern cool looking Cheesecake Factory like menu or the warmer American Bistro with potential (short ribs, P.E.I. Mussels, seared ahi tuna… yum). Starving, we decided to eat at Zin American Bistro simply because it looked warmer.
When we walked up, we noticed that the restaurant quite full, but we wouldn’t have to wait for a table. Instead, we had to wait for the hostess to return from whereever she was to seat us at the table. We got an outside table right next to two heaters. Perfect. Just what we needed after a chilly day. Our friend inquired with the waiter about if the short ribs used any cilantro. He responded that he would need to check with with the kitchen and then informed us that the house was out of the P.E.I. Mussels and the seared ahi tuna, and short on the short ribs. This was everything that we were looking forward to on the menu. The waiter came back a few minutes later with our drinks…but not the answer to the question we specificallly asked. It should have been a sign. Nonplussed, we ordered: truffle fries, French onion soup, short ribs (two orders), free-range rabbit, and Belgian beef stew .
We waited a very long time for the appetizers. During which, the waiter came back out and said that he could only fulfill one order of the short ribs, not two. We ordered the Zin Burger in replacement. Finally, when tables seated after us got their appetizers, we asked our waiter to check on the food. Minutes later, the food arrived. But it was our entrees and not the appetizers. We asked the waiter again, what happened with the appetizers. He ran back to check. When he returned, he indicated that the food “got lost” on the way to the table and that he would remove them from the bill. How does food “get lost” in a 20 table restaurant???
Short Ribs - Mmmm short ribs. Boneless, braised in a raspberry chipotle sauce atop a bed of peas and carrots. Perfect for a chilly evening in the winter. The sauce had a mild sweet with just a touch of flavor from the chipotle. I could have eaten the entire dish, but I agreed with my friend (who didn’t get his order of short ribs) that I would share half the dish with him.
Free-Range Rabbit - It’s been a while since I’ve had rabbit. This dish definitely didn’t disappoint. The rabbit was braised in dijon mustard sauce and served with pommes frites. The rabbit leg was tender and fell right off of the bone. The dijon mustard sauce was delight fully creamy without being overpowering to the rabbit.
Zin Burger – 11oz American Kobe Beef Sirloin, very juicy and tender. Topped with caramelized sweet onion, and Fiscalini white cheddar. The white cheddar had a great sharpness that provided a great contrast to the caramelized sweet onion.
I have to say, the food was pretty good, but the service was atrocious. He never checked in on us when we were waiting for the appetizers. Even after we let him know that we were starving and needed more bread, he didn’t go check on the appetizers. He also never apologized about the appetizers never showing up. As we were wrapping up the bill, I double checked to make sure they didn’t charge us for the appetizers that “got lost”. I was already sufficiently annoyed enough with the service that I didn’t tip my usual 20%. I was planning to leave just about 15%. Then, I noticed that the left side of me (where the heat lamp had been) was a little chilly. I turned to my left and saw the waiter wheeling the heat lamp away. He didn’t ask and he could have waited for us to depart (we were maybe 5 mins from leaving). Nope. He just wheeled it away.
In the end, we left a 9% tip, which in hindsight I think was generous given the service that we received. Even though the food was relatively good, I will never, ever return to this establishment.
Zin American Bistro
198 South Palm Canyon Drive
Palm Springs, CA 92262