Bin 100 - 3rd visit
Last night,we dined for the third time at Bin 100. Our first two dinners were wonderful and we had no reason to think that we'd be anything but completely happy with our third visit. While the food was good, it was decidedly a far less positive experience than in the past.
When Bin 100 opened, we wondered aloud if the location was not conducive to a relatively high end restaurant with a decidedly non-traditional menu, and as reasonably dedicated foodies, we loved the unique dishes and the unusual combinations of tastes. When we were given the new menus last night (Spring menu), most of the really outstanding dishes from our first two visits were missing. In their place were a number of fairly commonplace dishes and several pasta dishes. While many of the appetizers looked interesting, there was no question that many of the entrees had been "dumbed down." My wife selected the diver scallops and I chose the cioppino, although neither were what we were looking forward to. When our waitress told my wife that they were out of the scallops, she really couldn't find anything else that appealed to her, so we decided to have the paella for two, On our previous visits, it looked very appealing, both in presentation and in aroma. It was a very decent version, but it is clear that the presentation was not nearly as elaborate as it had been when we had seen others order it during our previous visits. While we did enjoy it, my wife's serving was marred by one very sandy mussel that imparted its sand in her plate.
We shared a dessert (the churros) and paid our check. As we were leaving, we were told by an employee who recognized us that Elena (the owner) had decided to make the menu more accessible, adding a number of fairly traditional Italian dishes. Apparently, during their first few months, they had a number of customers leave before ordering their dinners when nothing on the menu seemed familiar. While I can understand her desire to have a menu that appeals to the broadest number of customers, it seemed to us that taking virtually all of the unique entrees off of the menu was overkill.
It is apparent that our concerns as to location have been realized,and Devon is just not ready for a "cutting edge" dining establishment. With commonplace chicken and pasta dishes priced at over $20, there is little motivation to return soon. It is truly a shame,,as there is obviously the talent in the kitchen to create interesting and outstanding dishes. While I realize the economic reality of opening a restaurant in these trying economic times, what was truly a gem in an otherwise barren wasteland of mediocre dining establishments now has lost some of its lustre.
I remember when a couple opened a cafe near me (in Lewisville, TX). I loved the unique dishes and unusual flavors. This was not your ordinary greasy spoon in a mixed use neighborhood. I quickly became friends with them and discovered they had a mexican restaurant in Dallas, as well. They were not Texans. Soon it became apparent that they could not serve a lot of Italian, Spanish themed fish dishes, for one. This was a very blue collar, working-class neighborhood, reminiscent of areas near Bin 100. To save their business they went heavy on the "chicken fried steak", "chicken fried chicken" and other foods the people were used to. That worked and they became a success . They slowly added a few creative dishes back into the menu, like fish tacos on Friday.
We enjoyed our two meals at Bin 100 (pretty much- with exceptions-http://www.chowhound.com/topics/46772...) but I saw similar problems with pricing and not enough substance as Isnhc.
Wow, you're not kidding about the menu change. What was a very interesting, eclectic menu is now quite ordinary. They even changed over the Buffalo Sliders to Beef!
All I can say is that I hope the quality of the meals still excels and makes up for the lack of creativity in the menu. While I liked the previous menu, it might have been a little too ambitious for the location and ultimately, I would like to see this place make it so, if "dumbing down" the menu a bit is what it takes, I settle for that as long as the food is good.