Friday, August 27, 2010

Wednesday, Aug 25th - Early Supper at Bin 941

Pommes Frites with Balsamic Reducition - Bin 941
One of Vancouver's gems come crowded hotspots is Bin 941.  It is so popular that Gord Martin opened a second one, Bin 942 across the bridge on Granville and Broadway.  While the first one could genuinely be the eclectic cave it is with mis matched tables and chairs, random artwork on the walls and bits of bar detritus if not for the fact that it was twinned in the second.  It makes both feel a bit like an out of the box set up.  There are loads of out of box Pubs in England.  They're mostly owned by the major brewers and identical from pub to pub down to the same cricket photos or old coasters on the exact same wooden pillars.  Well, Gord is a local boy so I try to pretend the twin doesn't exist when I'm in the other.

Whichever twin you chose to go to, they are both equally cozy.  That coupled with the popularity means you will wait.  Oh, to up that situation yet equalling the playing field, they do not take reservations.  It is first come first serve.  They open at five and that will be the only time you will not wait.  We've waited upto an hour.  There are about 4 stools in the small hallway in the back near the bathroom so we prefer to go up the road for a drink until they ring us.

Today however, we were both able to leave work early enough to beat the rush but just. We met there for quarter to six and got the last table.  Yay!

Bin 941's concept is tapas but more accurately, small plates and on the small side as well.  I used to live in Spain and feel that word is used rather fast and loose in North American fusion restaurants.  Their menu has several of these small plates, as well as well as Mussels served with gorgeous toasted baguette, and Salads.  The mussels and salads are more substantial but still small plate sized.  I was not in a Mussel mood so we ordered three hot small plates, the Spinach Salad and Pommes Frites.

We ordered one Small plate each and shared one.  D was in the mood for Lamb.  So I ordered the Fresh Pacific Halibut, pan seared on a bed of greens in a  thai curry coconut sauce with a side of Mango and Prawn Sunomono salad. D ordered the Grilled Lamb Chops with a lemon roast potato and sides of a Spanakopita on Tzatziki, Minced Greek Salad on Feta and a fried Olive. Our third hot plate was the Crab Cakes with burnt Orange sauce, Bok Choy with chipotle Oil, minced Cucumber salsa.  We shared the Spinach Salad with Baby Golden and Red Beets and Fried Saganaki (cheese) nuggets in a Sherry Vinagrette and their signature shoe string Pommes Frites tossed in Pepper and drizzled in Balsamic reduction.

Now to start with the Pommes Frites.  They are an item of great debate from posts I have seen so let me chime in.  It depends.  Yup. There's definitive for you.  What I mean is they are messy, no doubt. The yummy Balsamic Reduction which is thankfully drizzled throughout and not just on top, is sticky and gooey.  It comes in a heaping, glorious mound.  So, if I were on an early stage date, I would not recommend you order these.  You will be too self conscious and not fully enjoy them.  As well, you'll be chatting very carefully and daintily eating slowly so they may may get cold.  I love them.  I ate them with my clean fingers, one at a time in rapid succession while D took them by hunky forkfulls while we comfortably talked.  They were wonderfully dressed and piping hot throughout.
Spinach and Baby Beet Salad
The Spinach Salad was delicious.  It was the first time we ordered a salad there.  We have ordered may of their other Bruscetta in that part of the menu but never a salad.  The Beets were sweet and tender. The mushrooms added nice depth and meatiness.  The dressing was very well balanced and the greens well dressed.  The four little bites of fried Cheese made the Salad feel a teeny weeny bit indulgent.  I will have this again.

Crab Cakes with Burnt Orange Sauce and Chipotle Oil
The Crab Cakes were great but we had mixed reviews on this.  D said his was dry.  Granted, they come stacked on the plate and he took the top one so I had the one sat in the Orange Sauce so I did not find them dry.  They were incredibly piping hot.  I was so pleased about that.  I did not care for the Burnt Orange sauce.  It was more or less like runny Marmalade.  The dish was served on a long plate and the Orange sauce was on one end and the Chipotle Oil on the Bok Choy was on the other.  It seemed unnecessary to have two, particularly since the Chipotle oil was so fantastic and did not play well with the orange marmalade.  The Cucumber salad bore a startling resemblance to the Greek Salad that D got later with his Lamb.  Maybe because it was the same salad.  I did not see any Tobiko as stated on the menu.  I did not miss it.  The Cucumber Salad had a fine fine mince which gave it a nice texture.

Halibut in Curry Coconut Sauce
The only annoying thing about the concept is that they assume you are sharing all your plates and assume that the people at the table, even if there are only two, both eat meat.  Though we made it clear, though did not explicitly state it, that the lamb was for D and the Halibut for me, D had to sit and watch me eat my Halibut.  The attentive servers came by a couple of times and had to have noticed that D was not partaking and waiting.  The Halibut was cooked perfectly and the Greens were nice but the sauce was quite under seasoned and for such a vibrant style as the Coconut Curry, it was rather mild, near bland.  Temperature was great. Hard to hit without overcooking the Halibut.  The Sunomono was a miss for me too.  The noodles were too al dente and there was not enough Mango which was what I thought would be the highlight of the dish.  I do not think I would order this again. It was fairly blah.

Lamb Chops with Spanakopita and Greek Salad
D's Lamb Chop dish was aesthetically pleasing well except for the Spanakopita sat in a puddle of Tsatziki.  Don't mistake me, it was a nice Spanakopita and the sauce was good but it seemed out of place on that plate.  As I've said, the Greek Salad that came with the dish was actually the Cucumber Salsa we had with the Crab Cakes or alot like it, pressed on to some feta.  It was yum.  D thought the lamb chops were under seasoned and under flavoured, given the theme of the plate, they were surprisingly plain.  They were cooked wonderfully rare and had a great texture but, as D put it, unusually unlamby.  I guess that is a bad thing.  He said it was.  The lambiness is why your order Lamb.

Their Wine list has great variety and I believe everything is available by the glass so instead we ordered a few glasses rather than a bottle.  I especially enjoyed the Briccotondo Barbera. ♥♥♥♥♥

Cost: $$$-$$$$ (for small plates)
Service: Friendly and attentive without stalking
Wine list: Lots of by the glass options

Bin 941 Tapas Parlour
941 Davie St
Vancouver, BC V6Z
(604) 683-1246

Bin 941 Tapas Parlour on Urbanspoon




0 Leave a / Read COMMENTs: