Went to Bin 8945, Great!
My husband and I went to Bin 8945 on Santa Monica & Robertson and thought it was great! We sat at the bar and the bartender, Damian, was more knowledable than most servers we encounter. Every dish we had was good, which is rare in LA. We wanted to try a few different wines, so he split the glasses in 2 for us so we could both try them. Most bartenders don't want the extra work. The place was packed (after write-ups last Wed & Thurs in the LA Times).
My wife and I also went to Bin 8945 this weekend for the first time, with her younger sister and boyfriend.
Bin 8945 is fantastic and is a wine and food lovers dream. I would put it in same league with A.O.C., although with the following caveats: I think the food at A.O.C. is a tad better, not in quality, but in diversity of options. I think the wine at Bin 8945 is better, with more depth in older French wines and esoteric selections. If you want to enjoy summer nights outdoors then Bin 8945 gets the nod; if you want more of a scene or want to meet your fellow diners, then I'd got to A.O.C.
We sampled alot of food - ceviche, fried oysters, charcuterie and cheese samplers, duck confit with flageolets and cavalo nero, hanger steak with frites and blackened catfish with citrus/lemongrass risotto. Everything was excellent.
The hanger steak and frites, however, were sublime. The fries, cookeed in duck fat, were so good they took me back to the 70's when McD's used to use beef fat in their fry grease. Seriously unreal and good. The accompanying hanger steak is also unbelievably tasty, tender, flavorful, perfectly cooked - just awesome.
The wines were fantastic. I knew that the wine guy's obsession far exceeded my own geeky impulse when the list of sparklers by the glass included no fewer than 4 non-Champagne wines, including a sparkling Gruner Veltliner.
After kicking off with a fabulous 1995 white burgundy ($60 for a decade old white burgundy in pristine condition? What a steal - you're likely to get charged that for a bottle current vintage Sonoma-Cutrer (or much worse) in this town.) we put ourselves in the hands of the wine man. He did us right, steering us toward a rustic italian red that I would normally think too dry and grippy, but that went perfectly with the charcuterie and cheese, then a fruity but cleansing Austrian red blend with the main plates. And he brought my wife a glass of smooth, concentrated Spanish red because she wasn't fond of the more rustic Italian. Dude, you rock.
Desert was lost on me, as I sank into a wine and duck fat coma, but the ladies swear the heath bar brownie was kick ass. The total tab, with tax and tip was $460, which was admittedly a bit high, but that was because we drank so much.
Just dined here the other night. I agree about David; try to get his attention and let him do his thing. Just tell him you want him to pick something, he has fun with it, and he's incredibly spot on.
Only problem with the place is its size. Even on the patio it's cramped. And the hostess was kind of dumb (natch). She held tables that no one wanted in both parts of the room. That just shouldn't happen. let people be comfortable. The place only seats about 30 inside, maybe 10 more outside. It's teeny tiny and when full, everyone's really on top of each other.
So if you're claustrophobic, stay away. If you don't care, go go go. It's a great place.
OH, and the duck fat FF. We said exactly the same thing; tasted like McDonald's, in a good way. And the mussels are also soooo good.
We were there last night for the second time and loved it again. Started with the house salad with the familiar but satisfying butter lettuce, pecans, bleu cheese and vinaigrette, a terrific brandade, well seasoned Cajun catfish and the steak frites. SIV did say rugged cooking, I think. This is an approach to food that's interested in flavor first and impressing last. I keep thinking Blue Ribbon in NYC because the whole serious wine aspect is continually balanced by down in denim fun. I don't even mind the cool club background music. We are in WeHo afterall.