We’d been wanting to try the new West Hollywood Zinque for a long time. We had heard it was open and that they had a new oyster night—but we couldn’t quite get over to the place. Honestly, we couldn’t find it: it’s the type of place that is very discrete and seeks to blend in and be it’s own unique brand of casual and fine dining. Once you (Well, we.) find it, you will want to keep coming back: they’re somehow hit a bullseye that sews together Angeleno cafés with Parisian cafés. Zinque makes you feel like you are on vacation—and all you had to do was go to West Hollywood.
The brunch and dinner spot is located across the street from the Pacific Design Center. The venue is composed mostly of polished cement. A sexy red-pink neon sign discretely spells the place’s name from behind a palm tree. You have the option of sitting in the L-shaped, brass and black and gray indoor dining room or the outdoor, overly laxed, palm tree covered, also L-shaped patio. If it’s brunch, go for the patio. It’s one of the best in the city.
The menu (for brunch, which is what we attended) is a wide variety of French-American pastries, egg dishes, and sandwiches. Yes, that means tartines too. A beautiful wine list and specials are noted as well and there is a definite sophisticated air to the place. The service is particularly attentive although the personalities involved take you out of the experience by being too Angeleno. This is a mild critique but such a fancy yet casual place needs service of a certain decorum—or it will be mistaken for any other brunch spot with a patio.
While their take on American classics could be tempting, err toward the more French dishes and breads. The quiche is a light dish served with greens with a dense crust, which—while intimidating—offers a glimpse into the kitchen’s expertise of style. Sandwiches like the Banh Mi are classic and represent a global history captured in one sandwich—and Zinque does the sandwich justice. It has been a popular local item as of late but Zinque’s may be the best: it’s light, the bread is fucking ridiculous, and it smartly balances the sandwich’s requisite sweet, spicy, and salty flavors perfectly.
The restaurant is one of those unique places that I fear people will miss. It’s so discrete and quaint and cute that it could get zoomed by as people pass West toward Cecconi and Gracias Madre or East toward Lucques and Crossroads. Zinque is a place to dog ear because it is much more casual than restaurants surrounding it and much more sophisticated in a casual Angeleno, French way. There really isn’t any other place like it in that it is casual and contemporary and captures both cultures without the francophilic hamfisting of places like Figaro and Cafe Midi. Zinque is understated: less really does mean more when it comes to this style of food.