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Zin Guf’s Risotto Relishes Memories

By: “Grand Chef” Keizo Nakasone

Date Posted: 1999-11-13

Sometimes, being flexible with oneself can be a good idea, especially when unexpected things happen. That is definitely the case when one runs into something new. Our encounter with the cafe restaurant "Zin Guf" was one of those occasions.

One Saturday afternoon, we were looking for a good place for lunch. We cruised around the Sunabe Seawall area in Chatan looking for a place to fill two empty stomachs. After a second circle of Seawall, we decided to go for Yakiniku, or Korean BBQ, and headed towards the Yakiniku eatery around the area. But we never found a suitable spot, and continued searching and searching. Till we fell on the Zin Guf.

Zin Guf is the Cafe Restaurant that is located on the second floor of Yakiniku restaurant, "Kagawa" in Minato, Chatan. If it were not for a conspicuous sign outside the restaurant, this small eatery could easily be bypassed. However, the fact that the restaurant’s constituency of permanent customers is bigger than that of first-timers demonstrates one thing: the tastes of "Zin guf" stick to people’s palates and are never forgotten.

For almost 5 years, Teruyuki Chinen has been serving French-based specialties to customers, a result of his French culinary finesse. Since Chinen wants to be flexible and always open to new ingredients, he hesitates to categorize his food selection as strict French dishes.

There are 6 dinner course menus, ranging from 1500 yen to 3300 yen. The dinner hours begin at 6 o'clock.

We tried the 2,850 yen course dinner. The course started with three kinds of hors d'oeuvre, which are with mushrooms, Sweet Potatoes and Tartar sauced Tuna with garlic toast. The combination of hot and cold Sweet Potatoes with Tuna were just fine and they all tasted good.

Soup and salad are the dishes that one can enjoy, as always, with the tastes of seasonal vegetables. (Soup may vary by seasons since the fresh seasonal ingredients are used.) Neatly decorated Risotto topped by buttered Darukuma (white meat fish) was the main dish for the course. One can choose either fish or meat for the main dish. With the main dish one gets to taste one of Chef Chinen's culinary faiths: bring out the best of each ingredient without killing its flavor. And it is the dish that most diners seem to enjoy both by sight and by savor.

The dessert with coffee or tea after the main dish is probably one of things that makes the customers, especially female customers, come back to the restaurant. Vanilla ice cream, dark pink raspberry sherbet, brownish yellow peat tart along with Kiwi and peach, are the colorful finale of the course.

"Once you enter this restaurant, you want to come back all the time. I want all my customers to be pleased when they leave here. Please, feel free to let us know if you have some particular things that you want to avoid " Chinen tells his customers.

Zin Guf is a small restaurant that operates by tow chefs and there are seats for only approximately 30 people, including the dining counter. To confirm that seats are available, making reservations is highly recommended.

Only yen in cash is accepted for the payment. English is not spoken there, so taking bilingual friends along might be a good idea.

Directions: From KAB Main Gate, make a right turn at the second traffic light (a Chinese restaurant is on the right) and go straight. Before the first traffic light, make a left turn. Go along the street and, at the "Kinmatsu Steak House", slow down. "Zin guf" is located on the second floor of the building after "Kinmatsu". For parking, make a right turn, there are restaurant parking lots the left.

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