ZIN Restaurant & Wine Bar

Zin serves deviled eggs without apology.
Potato and fried onion casserole without flinching.
A Blue Plate Pot Roast every Tuesday to a packed house.

Here, comfort food rules and no one walks away from the table hungry.

Riffing on American regional favorites, (Chicken-N-Dumplings, spaghetti and meatballs, Mac-N-Cheese) Zin Chef Jeff Mall feeds the need for dishes just like mom used to make. Only a lot better. But that’s just part of the story.

Mall also throws some solid Wine Country curves on his seasonal lunch and dinner menus–like the Mexican beer-battered green beans with mango salsa; the Dungeness crab salad with avocado, mango and chili-lime salsa; or the unmistakably Left Coast-y roasted beet & orange salad with frisee, toasted walnuts, fresh goat cheese and Meyer lemon vinaigrette. The Great Alice would approve.

Somehow Mall makes this weird mix of comfort-meets-California work, despite being both a little disorienting and wildly endearing. One day you’re eating wild mushroom Chile Rellenos with goat cheese, the next you’re gobbling buttermilk fried chicken. Red bean cassoulet followed by Carolina pulled pork. Okay, sure.

What ties them all together are fearless flavors and Mall’s nearly fanatical interest in using hand-picked ingredients from his own farm, Zin Garden. Chances are those tomatoes in your spaghetti came from one of his thousands of plants. The jelly in your Zinfandel doughnuts? Yep, he crushed the grapes himself. You get the idea.

Ultimately it comes down to this. There’s Healdsburg’s whole tie and cheese cart thing. Or there’s Zin, where you can throw on your jeans and order up a smoked pork chop and warm jelly doughnuts.

Yeah, me too.

Zin Restaurant and Wine Bar, 344 Center Street, Healdsburg, 707.473.0946

Best Bets: Menu changes seasonally, so ask your server what’s new. However, the beer battered green beans are a staple ($8), along with the pot roast ($16) and applewood pork chops ($21). The hangar steak is another can’t miss ($24), topped with (in the winter) wild mushrooms and thyme. Oh and don’t miss the wine list, which features an extensive list of by-the-glass local Zinfandels.

Don’t Miss Zin THIS WEEKEND on the Food Network’s Giada’s Weekend Getaways.