Bin 941 has been on my "to blog about list" for quite awhile; but somehow it kinda got lost in the shuffle. It wasn't until Ben (Chowtimes) blogged about it that reminded me about it. Tonight, it was the perfect destination because it was our usual Friday night hockey and it was going to end late. Since Bin 941 closes at 2:00am, we had a place to do our late night eats. Wait, isn't there like an endless lineup at this place on a Friday night??? Remember when I said it was the perfect destination for tonight? My thought was that it would be dead because everyone would be preoccupied with their Halloween parties. Bear was a bit skeptical of this plan; but he played along and everyone agreed to take a chance. To my relief, I was right! Otherwise, I'm sure no one would really want to listen to my "plans" anymore.
So what exactly is Bin 941? It's essentially a tapas bar where you can hang, have some drinks and munch on tasty food. Don't confuse this with a traditional Spanish tapas joint though. You won't find Paella or the sort here. Rather, Chef Gord Martin has created a menu which is both sophisticated; yet accessible. Of course, being a tapas bar, everything is meant to be shared amongst the people at your table. However, Dr. 911 decided that he was going to be Dr. No-Share and eat his own dish. Was he afraid of H1N1? Whatever the case, we gave him a hard time about it. The rest of us (Lionel Hutz, Milhouse and Bear) decided to share 6 items with the first being the Pomme Frites. Unlike the usual frites we might associate with, the ones here are of the shoestring variety and drizzled with a balsamic reduction. Definitely different and absolutely delicious. Being that I recently had some fry bread at Beaver Tails, I suggest we try the Navajo bread (which is another variation). Hot, fluffy and lightly sprinkled with salt and pepper, these little pockets gave out a small puff of hot steam when bitten into.
There was actually 2 orders of the Flank Steak; but guess who had one and didn't share? Yup, Dr. No-Share! I'm afraid to think what would happen if we took him to Dim Sum. I can see him munching on 3 orders of Haw Gow to himself (reminds me of an old Sam Hui Cantonese song, "Tsim Sha Tsui Susie"). Topped with the same excellent frites, the slices of perfectly cooked and tender flank steak were sauced with maple syrup chipotle glaze. One bite and it was sweet; but then you got hits of cinnamon and chili from the spice rub. Continuing on the beef theme, the Beef Tenderloin arrived next. Majestically present, these babies were done Wellington style resting on a bed of delicious mash potatoes. The beef was melt-in-your-mouth tender; however, the sauce was not as flavourful as it looked. I'm not sure if it was just me; but it was more sweet than savory. Dr. No-Share decided to chime in on this dish and remarked how difficult it was to cut the 2 pieces so we could share. Anything to justify himself!
He continued to make his point when we received our next dish - Lamb Sirloin with a mini spanakopita topped with feta and marinated olive slivers. He was laughing at us as we were attempting to cut everything into 4 equal portions. Honestly, he does have a point. If these were meant to share, they were not exactly share-friendly. Anyways, the lamb was ever-so-tender and the sauce was rich. The last dish was probably the easiest to share. We got the Mussels done in a Chirizo Smoked Tomato Broth. The hotpot which it arrived in was filled to the brim with fat, juicy mussels. We were supplied grilled focaccia to soak up the broth. I personally loved the mussels and the fragrant broth; however, Lionel Hutz commented that the broth did not hold up to the mussels very well. He thought the dish was a bit fishy. After eating it a bit more, I would tend to agree that the classic garlic white wine broth would've been much more successful.
Overall, the food was pretty darn good. Everything was made with care and consisted of top-notch ingredients. If you take into account the venue and the time of day; it's pretty impressive to get food of this quality. Furthermore, unlike Abigail's Party, the staff were plentiful and seemed interested in providing consistent service.
- Quality ingredients and well executed
- Great service despite the lack of space
- Funky atmosphere
- Very small place
- Usually quite packed, hard to get a table