Restaurant Review – Chicago: Bin 36

16 Aug

Don't mind if I do...

Two weeks ago in Chicago, Brian, Mags and I headed out for dinner with nary a plan. Since I’m there a couple times each month, they eyed me expectantly. I caved under the pressure.

My first thought was to take them to Pop’s Champagne, which I first tried a year ago with my friend Karen using a couple Groupons. It’s a great champagne bar with a light tasting menu and would’ve been perfect since we’re all winos, but Brian was whining that his dogs were barking since I’d paraded him all over the downtown area in dress shoes the night before.

Fortunately, we got lucky and stumbled upon Bin 36 about five blocks closer to our hotel. I’m so glad we did, because I’ll definitely make it a habit when I return to the Windy City.

Admission: I love wine. But I don’t think that’s why I had so much fun with this menu. It was the way it was organized. They had about ten different flights of wine, each consisting of four samples. (Margaret and I did the “Habla Espanol” with Spanish reds for $12.75, and Brian tried the “Sexy Reds” collection, which hit a homerun with the house bottle of Bin 36 Zinfandel. It was so good we bought two bottles as we left.)

And in addition to the wine flights, they had a great variety of small plates, finger foods and cheese flights. We tried:

  • Basket of Gougeres – essentially parmesan donuts that are a bit spicy and served with a honey dipping sauce
  • Toscano Salami – awesome salami slices served with crostini
  • Fried Green Tomatoes – these were fine, but bland – about the only thing I would not order again
  • Cheese Flight: four different cow’s milk cheeses in increasing intensity and age, served with cabernet jelly, apple slices and some nuts

It was perfect – the right amount of food, the right amount of wine, and so much variety that we were like kids in a sandbox getting to experiment with how the flavors played off each other. And unlike most tapas bars I’ve visited, we all walked out with damage equivalent to the price of a solid bottle of wine. I’ll definitely be going back.

Bin 36
339 North Dearborn Street | Chicago, IL 60654-4817
(312) 755-9463
Date sampled: August 4, 2010.

One Response to “Restaurant Review – Chicago: Bin 36”

  1. BIN 36 August 17, 2010 at 10:06 am #

    What a pleasant Google alert to find in my inbox this morning! So glad to hear you had such a great time, and really embraced the BIN experience—the wine, the cheese, and then the store!

    Please let us know when you’re back in the city, and don’t be a stranger to our blog, too!

    Cheers ; )


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