Optimistically Cautious

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Pricey but Pleasant: TZiN Wine and Tapas

If you've been paying some attention to my blog, then you'll know that I've been eagerly awaiting the opening of TZiN Wine and Tapas (10115-104 Street). Between the rave reviews and the several notable mentions in the food literature I peruse, I was foaming at the mouth to try it. So on Friday, with Mack in tow, I was excited to finally give it a go.

Anyone else who had ever visited the previous tenant would probably be wondering, like I was, how they would manage to squeeze a full-service restaurant into a space that functioned primarily as a takeout place before. Well, I'm happy to say the designer pulled it off in spades. Though the entire restaurant seats only about 20-25 patrons, the dining area is more intimate than claustrophobic in my opinion. The black and red color scheme is sleek, with the banquette along the left side making the most of the small space. I'd like to think it was deliberate, but the pulsing dance music served as a cover of sorts, allowing for some conversational privacy between tables.

The food menu is definitely not for the frugal at heart. Tapas ("small plates") start at $8, with most in the $11-$13 range. There were some interesting selections, including frogs legs (cheekily named "Miss Piggy's Revenge"), scallops, and raw fish. Their lunch appears to be the most economical, with sandwiches priced at between $12 and $14 (I'd order the ExBoyfriend - made with jerk chicken!). We decided to split the 4-20 Pica, a rather elaborate pizza made with artichoke, oven dried roma tomato and asiago drizzled with organic hemp seed oil.

I'm admittedly not much of a wine-drinker (especially when compared with Mack), but it would have been a waste to visit a wine bar and not order at least a glass. We went one better and chose the "Mile High Club" Heaven trio - for $12, three 2oz. samples of whites, including a 2005 Paul Zinck Pinot Gris (France), 2005 Alois Lageder Pinot Blanco (Italy), and 2005 Burrowing Owl Pinot Gris (Canada). If anything, I now know that I prefer Pinot Gris - there isn't as much of a stinging aftertaste when compared with Pinot Blanco or (blech) red wines. Mack also ordered a fraction of Edmeades Zinfandel, but despite his raw enthusiasm for this type of red, I couldn't bring myself to enjoy it.

Our pizza arrived after some wait (curious as there are a number of service people in the restaurant but only one cook), likely a ploy to increase drink orders between course delivery. Still, it was a fairly decent dish. I disputed the fact that the tomato was at all oven dried, but I enjoyed the arugula, asiago, and foccacia-eque bread base. It wasn't worth the $11 charged, but I agreed with Mack's observation that outrageous prices are necessary because of the lack of seats in the restaurant.

TZiN is not the place for a full dinner, but I can see it becoming a destination spot for an after-work drink or post-show bite.

Novel hours

Kitchen (located right next to the restaurant's entrance!)


Heaven trio (when the waitress saw that we were eyeing the "Mile High" selections - either "Heaven" or "Hell," she asked, "Ready to go to Hell?" then quickly countered, saying "That's probably not the question you want to hear on Easter weekend...")

4-20 Pica

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