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May 10, 2006 09:45 PM

Anyone been to Vin?

  • f

I believe the new restaurant on Towson Circle is open, but I cannot find any info online. Has any one been & care to share?


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  1. I believe today's Sun says it's opening this Friday

    2 Replies
    1. re: mj

      There is a soft, invite-only opening tonight. It's open for business on Friday.

      1. re: Boris

        Yes - and I wouldn't make an effort to go there until they have a chance to see if they can work out their kinks. Their service is less than average, there are as someone else said no standouts for such a short menu, and they really don't come off as knowing much about wine.

        I was very disappointed in this place - I expect more for a 100/person meal.

    2. here ya go! friends of mine went for a pre-opening, said good things


      1. Yup, we went last night. The food was decent but not spectacular. The service was awful - our waiter was abominable and mixed up a few things. But perhaps we just had a bum waiter. The lobster corn dog was ordinary, the fried oysters were pretty good but not the best in town, the asparagaus salad was outstanding. The soft shell crab BLT was great and the seared rare tuna excellent. The steak was BAD. Desserts were great. The food is a little uneven (some things great, other things not). The decor is fantastic -- GREAT atmosphere. I think the place will be a success since there's nothing like it in Towson and the food is good enough. Good wine list. I would check it out again, hoping to get a different waiter.

        1. Okay, so this is my first post and let me do you all a favor by suggesting that you steer clear of Vin.

          If you want details, I'll do my best to point out the very best parts of my meal.

          The crouton in my tomato soup. Seriously. It was a tender lump of cheese with some sort of meat-like filling. Too small (and obviously coated in soup) for me to guess precisely what was in the crouton. But kudos on that. The soup itself was a puree of tomato. No salt, no spice, absolutely no flavoring at all - just tomato puree. You have to give the chef a salute for culinary honesty of that magnitude.

          I can tell you that the seltzer water was quite good. Served cold with irregular ice cubes (my favorite) and with plenty of fizz. The lemon garnish was a bit brown, but I wasn't in the mood for flavored seltzer anyway. I should have savored it longer, because it was the only glass I was permitted that evening. (The second glass arrived with the check.)

          The sauce underneath my pasta was inoffensive, and while I can't really say that it was good, it managed to be one of the highlights of the evening. I can't say the same for the pasta which seems to have been overcooked, then left to soak for a few weeks, and then pressure cooked until it had the consistency of Spaghetti-O's. Soggy Spaghetti-O's.

          The garlic in the sautéed spinach was fresh and flavorful. If you can order that separate from the spinach, I recommend it. Sadly, the spinach was overcooked and had a strong mouth-coating metallic taste similar to what you might get out of a can.

          The hangar steak was good. The farmer and butcher should be commended for raising and preparing an excellent cut of meat. Vin did their part in the process and failed to burn it. Everyone at the table was amazed that it escaped the kitchen unscathed. So once again, very high marks for the steak.

          The brandied cherries served over the foie gras were tasty, though I admit they had the telltale signs of coming from one of those "gourmet food" jars. Clearly, this culinary wink was an homage to Sandra Lee from the Food Network. Sadly, the foie gras was not nearly as appetizing. Very "loose" consistency, and very little flavor. Strangely, the menu described it as a "Ménage à Foie Gras". Sans "trois", I should have known better, yet mistook this to mean there would be three different foie gras offerings. No, the three items were the flat-tasting "mealy" foie gras, the canned cherries, and a slab of tuna tartar... which reminded me of all the good sushi places nearby where I could have been eating.

          Another positive for me was the atmosphere. It's very pretentious and very loud and you won't have to be bothered by having mealtime conversations at all. You are free to tap your friends on the arm and point out the patrons who are making the biggest spectacle of themselves at any given time - and there are plenty to choose from. Drunkards, posers, bimbos, ...and other professionals. This was definitely the highlight.

          The place settings are also quite nice. The glassware is fairly high quality for a place like this, and the plates were simple, but classy. Pasta arrived in a creative "lopsided" bowl that was fun and elegant. And even the silverware was a joy to hold.

          As for the wine selection, it pretty much peaks with the Whitehaven Sauvignon Blanc. If you were expecting an extensive wine list, try Grand Cru in Belvedere Square. Vin has about 30 choices, most of which you would have no trouble finding in your nearest strip mall liquor store. I know nothing about wine myself, and Vin was on my level. True story - The waiter/wine steward/bus boy was asked if Whitehaven was from California and he awkwardly assured us that it was. With the magic of Google, I learn it's actually from New Zealand. Ooops.

          I do have two recommendations for those who have to try Vin for themselves. First - clear your schedule. Even a two course meal during the mid-week lull will require a two-hour commitment. Secondly - bring snacks. Some restaurants provide bread while you wait... vin provides you with a soggy cracker. One per person.

          It goes without saying that the service is indifferent. I've been told I'm wrong on that last point, and that the service is *oblivious*. If so, I stand corrected. Our waiter spent most of his time at the far end of the restaurant, wiping ....something. I'd rather not give that more thought.

          Bon Appétit !!!

          7 Replies
          1. re: Cohort

            dayum......well, I guess I'll take my time getting out there. How long have they been open? All this sounds somewhat like new-opening syndrome. But if it's been more than 3 months, there's little excuse.

            1. re: pleiades

              I think they opened in April. May... June... July...

              Hmmm. Still barely within your three month window. If you decide to give it a shot, I'd love to hear your review! It could be fun if you go into it with really low expectations.

              Kidding aside, DO clear your schedule and don't go hungry (or thirsty). Also, be sure that you DO get the hangar steak. It is not just edible - it's good. I can't say that about anything else.

              Prepare yourself - My tab for cheap wine, two bowls of soup, one foie gras, one hangar steak and a plain pasta dish was about $110.00 Kinda pricey for a laugh.

              1. re: Cohort

                Heh heh, no thanks. I'll buy the hangar steak from Cierello's, grill it myself, and the remainder of the cash towards a kick butt bottle of wine. I like the view from my deck better than plasma screens, anyways. :-)

              1. re: Cohort

                Thanks for your honest look at the place. I really hope you'll write more reviews as I really enjoyed reading your descriptions. Have you had any recent GOOD experiences?

                1. re: Cohort

                  Bravo! Thanks for the review. I am glad I didnt rush out there. I doubt I'll go at all. Maybe a drink outside & one plate... I'll be sure to share if I do

                2. A co-worker went there last night for a 20th anniversary dinner. She was underwhelmed at best. The wait staff tried rushing them, the food was adequate, way too noisy, tables too close together and here's the kicker. When they got the bill, they had each had one Manhatten cocktail. The cocktails were $10.00 each then they added an "upcharge" of $10.00 each because they were cocktails instead of just wine or a mixed drink. When she questioned it, the waiter got a severe attitutde and informed them that "all upscale dining establishments do this". I've done plenty of fine dining and have never encounted an upcharge for a cocktail. So, before tip, no dessert, no wine the bill came up to $150.00.

                  She seemed to indicate that this type of place was for the professional under 30 type of crowd.


                  2 Replies
                    1. re: hon

                      I guess so, I can get clarification. But either way, even if it was just $10 for both, but for $15 it better be a darn fine cocktail.