Last week, I met a few friends for a celebratory dinner at Bar Zin. Between college degrees, professional accolades, successful surgeries, and new businesses, there was a lot to be happy about. Bar Zin is located in the Palmetto Walk Shopping Center on the south end of the island. Recently it’s gone through a series of upgrades that have ushered in a fresh look, new menu, a full bar, and an in-house wine shop. After ten years in business, owner Tim Seyda is refocusing on his original vision to provide exquisite tapas-style dining with an extensive wine list in a sophisticated but comfortable setting. Mission accomplished.
We sat at a large banquette toward the back, which is where Amelia Island Wine Company is now settled in the library room, and where a free tasting was in full swing. We began the feast immediately. Strawberry Ricotta Bruschetta, Charcuterie, Crispy Brussel Sprouts, and Truffle Frites were served, and plates were everywhere. My business partner Josh was celebrating his newly acquired MPhil with a Vodka Collins, while his wife Laura toasted the launching of Personalized Performance, a facility designed to help with rehabilitation and physical wellness. Ken and wife Barb toasted his successful heart surgery and recovery. It was a happy moment in time made richer by great company and delicious food.
The first round of tapas disappeared in a flash. The charcuterie changes nightly, but our selections were paired with ground mustard, honeycomb, and homemade pickles. It’s a perfect sharing starter for a small group. The strawberry bruschetta was delicious, but I concentrated my attention on the truffle fries and brussel sprouts. The hand-cut fries were golden brown and drizzled with truffle oil, seasoned liberally, and tossed with parmesan cheese. The brussel sprouts were equally delicious, delightfully crunchy and green. I felt proud of myself for having a few vegetables.
I ordered a glass of Chardonnay from the Russian River in anticipation of my second course. Whenever mussels are available, I like to enjoy them. These were steamed perfectly in a Sambuca-spiked broth that I finished like a restorative soup after I finished extracting the tender morsels of briny brilliance. They came with a pile of crisp pommes frites with truffle aioli, which I was happy to share, having already indulged in their greasy goodness in round one.
Josh enjoyed the New York Strip special, which was served with creamy stone-ground polenta. Laura went with the always popular Tuna Crunch, yellow fin tuna in a panko crust with soba noodles and a sweet chili soy glaze, a Bar Zin staple. Barb won the prize for prettiest dinner with the Seared Scallops. Another favorite of mine, the perfectly scallops were nestled atop a dollop of the most delicious wild mushroom risotto. Ken went old school with the Wagyu burger, despite needing it cooked well done for health reasons, it remained juicy and delicious, which is no small feat. The plates were beautifully presented, the portions perfect, and the evening divine.
We finished our meals with a slice of chocolate cake and retired to take on new challenges in the future. Bar Zin is open Mondays and Wednesday thru Sunday from 5-9 p.m. Be sure to call for reservations.