Can you compare diner food to the haute cuisine of Chalkbard, Madrona Manor, La Toque, or — good heavens — The French Laundry?
But can diner food be really great diner food? Can it sing proudly of its humble origins? Can it serve a rich helping of pleasure on its cheap plates? You bet it can, and if you want a perfect example, head to Cloverdale and stop in at Zini’s Diner.
The chef modestly calls it a diner, but there are dishes that surpass ordinary diner food. Veal Scaloppini is a generous portion of several veal scallops sauteed in butter with white wine, scallions, and lots of button mushrooms. It’s served with browned and cheesy potatoes au gratin and slender spears of spring asparagus.
Expect the usual diner lineup as well, with menu standards such as omelettes, burgers and fries.
–Food Critic Jeff Cox