Report: Bin 26 Enoteca
First time at Bin 26. We liked it a lot. No reservations so we sat at the bar. Very cramped quarters. Despite my diminutive handle, I'm kind of a big guy, and the servers kept bumping me as they navigated the thin sliver of aisle between the bar and the tables.
Ordered a bottle of 2004 Weingut Bründlmeyer Grüner Veltliner, somewhat of a markup at $60, but I really like this wine. (I think B&G sells it also, but I can't remember the price. Probably more expensive.) Granny Smith apples, citrus, pepper...just my style of white wine.
DC ordered the tomato soup ($9), which wasn't that great. More of a marinara sauce than a soup. He ended up dipping his (very good) bread into it instead. Weird.
He also ordered the Mozzarella Wrapped and Roasted in Crispy Speck Served with Grilled Marinated Vegetables ($12). This was a very tasty variant on the usual prosciutto/mozz combo.
I ordered the Whole Fresh Mediterranean Sea Bass, Grilled with Lemon Thyme and Asparagus ($28). They offer to fillet the fish at the kitchen, but I'm always so wowed by a whole-fish presentation that I just did it myself. Perfectly cooked, nice charring---I drizzled some of the excellent olive oil that came with our bread onto the skin. Very good. The asparagus, by contrast, was pencil-thin and just OK. (I prefer peeled fatties.)
Bartender ("wine server"???) was a little scattered and was overzealous about filling our glasses. (Also: On weekdays, I'm the Designated Drinker while DC only has one glass.)
I thought the prices were reasonable, the vibe was cool, and I'd be interested in exploring it more.
One last thought: The wine menu is creatively organized but pretty confusing for the uninitiated.
i like bin enoteca, and think boston needs more places like this. i usually get a small plate of pasta and some salumeria and cheese and am very satisfied. the quality of the meats and cheese is excellent, although i simply hate they serve the cheese pre-sliced.
the wine list is full of unusual offerings and i especially like the option of ordering in carafes. the mark-up is pretty standard, but there are plenty of offerings in the $30-40 range that do not disappoint.
i almost always eat at the bar, often near the service end, and don't remember being bumped. was your stool jutting out? the tables do seem cramped and it is a very small space.
kate most frequently has been doing bar duty when i've been and she is lovely.
I'm with you, hotoy. Initially I thought I'd be bored by the very simple menu, but I've found everything to be executed beautifully (I too usually stick w/ the small plates), and the wine list is a clear labor of love. Never had any problems w/ feeling cramped there either...but then, tight seating is par for the course in your average Italian enoteca, too.
unfortunately Kate has moved to New York. i loved her at b&g and was ecstatic when i found out she was at bin. she will be missed. I agree with the wine list, it in well thought out and has some great wines. I love the mix and match salumi and cheeses that allows me to only have what I want. I do have to say the entrees have been disappointing, but still a great place to sit at the bar and have snack.
Thanks for the report... Being a wine lover Ive wanted a reason to try Bin26 but haven't as I didn't have a compelling reason to go. So, I was hoping your report would sway me. Obviously you said you liked it and the vibe was good so I guess that's all that matters, however as I read the details of your meal it seems like the meal was not without its problems. Servers kept bumping into you as they passed by... sound really cramped. The only thing that sounded nice was the wine offering (not the service of the bartender) and the fish sounded great.
The owners also own Lala Rokh which I found very disappointing. That and the tightness of the place have made me leary.
Still cant get over how cramped the place is. I won't endure that in a restaurant. Are the tables better? I need more to get me there. Look forward to other comments from those who have been.