A couple weeks ago, S and I were invited by a very generous group of friends to join them for a special tasting dinner at Bin 216, located downtown right next to Playhouse Square. Of course, we couldn’t turn down the opportunity to spend an evening with such fine people.
Bin 216 has a classy lounge feel, with upholstered walls, couches, and small tables. The menu fits the atmosphere, with its focus on “whimsical small plates, desserts, wine and cocktails.” Although we didn’t have theater tickets on this night, it seems the like perfect spot for a pre- or post-show snack and drink.
The dinner consisted of five courses, each with a wine pairing. The first was a selection of artisinal cheeses; I can’t say that I remember what any of them was, but I ate them all with equal relish.
The second plate was a summer vegetable roll (think spring roll) with an apple gastrique. This was quite the mashup of flavors and textures, combining (raw) squash, carrot, shiitake mushrooms, cilantro, and topping it all off with a hit of sriracha.
The next course was a beautiful grilled vegetable Napoleon, utilizing more summer produce: zucchini and yellow squash, onion, mushroom, and pepper. Instead of whipped cream, we had a creamy goat cheese mousse supporting a Parmesan crisp.
Since this wasn’t designated a vegetarian dinner, meat was the star in the fourth round, specifically a NY strip. Exceedingly tender, the steak was served with a veal demi glace, julienne peas, and a creamy Parmesan risotto. Lots of earthy, umami flavors in this one.
Dessert consisted of a “deconstructed blueberry cheesecake,” which is pretty much what it sounds like: a light and creamy base and macerated blueberries. Everyone wanted to lick the glass, but nobody was brave enough to do it.
Overall, we were quite happy with the experience. The food alone makes it worth the trip, but I also really enjoyed the setting, as it was relaxed and casually formal, but not too stuffy. Definitely worth a stop in, whether you’re seeing a show, or just happen to be walking by.
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