HOME > Chowhound > Minneapolis-St. Paul >
What are you cooking today? Get great advice
TELL US

MSP - Bin Wine Bar - Lowerton St. Paul

mngal Nov 11, 2009 10:21 AM

Does anyone know anything about this place? When it is opening, who is behind it??

  1. lstereo Mar 10, 2010 08:43 PM

    The ventilation system is horrible. Imagine going to a wine bar and leaving smelling like you went to Mickey's Diner?

    The wine selection also leaves a lot to be desired. And the wine glasses are less than ideal

    Stay home or go elsewhere until they figure things out.

    1 Reply
    1. re: lstereo
      r
      redmeatfan Mar 11, 2010 01:59 PM

      Istereo,

      Thanks for giving honest feedback. Wine glasses are almost always something of a disappointment. I am still waiting for someone with real wine skills to open a wine bar in this town. I was at Riverview last week and some glassware and maybe a worse wine list.

    2. s
      Sophia428 Feb 24, 2010 06:46 AM

      Went to Bin Tuesday night; it was very busy and there were only two wait staff so they were a bit harried. Had a Pinot Noir which was okay, but the Shiraz was very nice. Food was okay--loved the dates stuffed with blue cheese, thought that the flat bread was a bit dry (the menu said it came with fixings and olive oil but it didn't; we did ask for olive oil and that helped) and the chacuterie tray was a little disappointing--the meats (two types of salami) didn't seem anything special and unlike sftomn's, there was no cheese included on ours. However, I think it is a nice addition to Lowertown and will definitely go back.

      2 Replies
      1. re: Sophia428
        r
        redmeatfan Feb 24, 2010 10:44 AM

        Sophia,

        Not a great review but you wold go back?

        1. re: redmeatfan
          s
          Sophia428 Feb 25, 2010 06:22 AM

          Yes, I will definitely try it again.

      2. s
        sftomn Feb 18, 2010 11:32 AM

        I had a chance to go to Bin this past week (Tuesday night) and had a truly outstanding experience. While some posters may be offended by misspellings and lack of vintages on the wine menu, I can assure you that Bin is a fantastic destination and an asset to a great neighborhood.

        I'll comment largely on the food here, as I don't consider myself a wine expert. When we went on Tuesday, we were handed no paper menus, and our waiter explained that the food situation was a "soft roll-out." While somewhat annoyed, we ordered a chacuterie platter, which was beautiful. Several salamis, a delicious prosciutto, gouda, brie, and a stilton blue. There were also a few marinated/grilled veggies (WONDERFUL artichoke), along with a basket of warm bread.

        To accompany this, we ordered two wine flights - one red, one white. As my date and I are both fairly new to wine, we told our waiter to pick us a nice variety. The presentation of the flights is also a lovely touch - three glasses come in a nice wooden crate of sorts. In front of each glass is pinned a business card-sized note with a description of the wine. Our waiter chose excellently, and took great care to explain his choices.

        As the evening went on, we were treated to a number of wonderful surprises, compliments of the house. First, our waiter brought two appetizers for us to sample: A grilled tuna served on watermelon, with a dash of wasabi, and two kinds of "lollipops": one with mozzarella in cherry tomatoes, and one with roasted red pepper, anchovies, and olives. I preferred the second dish to the first, though I appreciated the kitchen's adventursome spirit. The pairing of wasabi with watermelon was surprisingly pleasant - my only issue was that the fish was just too bland. I might have preferred salmon over tuna.

        Later in the evening, we also enjoyed a sample of the Greek Flatbread - topped with feta, kalmata olives, and sun-dried tomatoes, if I recall correctly. This was just fine - not something I would necessarily order again, but perfectly palatable.

        Finally, we tasted the Medjool Dates stuffed with Gorgonzola drizzled with a balsamic reduction. These were perfect individual bites - just the right size, and a beautiful flavor combination.

        Finally, I would like to observe that the service was outstanding. Our waiter was attentive, engaging, and eager to make suggestions. The Chef stopped by several times to ask for feedback on the food. Even though we came in the back door, the manager stopped by to welcome us, and chatted for a few minutes. The environment couldn't have been more welcoming.

        Finally, as I walked by the exit, I noticed that the kitchen itself is TINY - maybe 10x10. I'm truly impressed with the variety and quality of the food that I enjoyed, and I can't wait to go back.

        This may not be a wine bar for true connoisseurs, but I think it's a fantastic destination for anyone who wants to enjoy some good wine and food in a wonderful environment.

        2 Replies
        1. re: sftomn
          r
          redmeatfan Feb 18, 2010 12:06 PM

          sounds like the food is good. Now just improve the wine and they will be set

          1. re: sftomn
            s
            soupkitten Feb 18, 2010 08:44 PM

            thanks for the review. i suppose the charcuterie plate is assembled from purchased sausages and other items? do you know if they do any charcuterie/curing/terrines/pates in house?

          2. r
            redmeatfan Feb 17, 2010 10:57 AM

            Sounds like another winner in the wine bar scene in this town. I am sure Bill Ward will rave about it.

            8 Replies
            1. re: redmeatfan
              LiaM Feb 17, 2010 11:33 AM

              Based on the articles that the restaurant's website links, it sounds like a place run by people who like wine bars but don't necessarily know much about wine. The owner is a former advertising exec. The employees mentioned in the article included a chef and a manager, but it doesn't say anything about who's doing the wine.

              Of course, if the food and atmosphere are both pleasant, I can see this being a success with a lot of people who aren't all that into wine but want a nice place for a bite and a snack.

              1. re: LiaM
                r
                redmeatfan Feb 17, 2010 12:00 PM

                LiaM,

                I agree with your comments. While many of us on Chow know wine and wouldn't order a glass at Bin it doesn't mean it won't be a hit. There are several wine bars that have less to offer and are still in business.

                1. re: redmeatfan
                  s
                  soupkitten Feb 17, 2010 12:34 PM

                  the owner's quote: "the reason I decided to open Bin Wine Bar is because... we need it!" kind of says it all to me. it turns my stomach a bit. doesn't sound like anyone is bringing anything to the table wrt wine expertise, yet the place may have a measure of success just based on location and ambiance.

                  how's the food?

                  1. re: soupkitten
                    r
                    redmeatfan Feb 19, 2010 12:54 PM

                    I hate to be negative but the fact that the food and wine show is still going is a testiment to the lack of wine knowledge in the Twin Cities. The wines being poured are similar to Bin's wine list.

                    1. re: redmeatfan
                      s
                      soupkitten Feb 19, 2010 02:24 PM

                      what does that have to do with anything? food and wine is a promotional event. it's about money, marketing, and branding, not the general public's knowledge of wine. in a similar vein, lots of folks show up to beer festivals and drink whatever's being poured (whether it's budweiser or the latest craft microbrew, it's a free alcoholic beverage)-- not because they love the products, but because they want to get loaded.

                      1. re: soupkitten
                        k
                        kevin47 Feb 19, 2010 08:00 PM

                        The whole point of these events is to drink what's being poured. Ideally, this helps consumers define their palate.

                        I would certainly hope that those who taste wine and beer at these events lack knowledge. Otherwise, they are being disingenuous. If they happen to get drunk, well, that's what alcohol does.

                        I don't think it benefits anyone to assume that those who enjoy this or that wine lack understanding.

                        1. re: kevin47
                          s
                          soupkitten Feb 20, 2010 09:14 AM

                          right. . . i guess i just don't understand Redmeatfan's point, which seems to be that the existence of one pr event is somehow indicative of the general wine knowledge of the whole twin cities.

                          it's like saying that since sesame street live sold out, that that is obviously the level of theater that the majority of folks in msp enjoy. sorry, no correlation for me.

                          1. re: soupkitten
                            Foureyes137 Feb 20, 2010 12:31 PM

                            Soupkitten has it. It's a logical fallacy. And while I don't agree or disagree with the premise, it's a lovely example of post hoc ergo propter hoc.

                            It would also be illogical to point out that there are food & wine events in Napa and Sonoma where people presumably know a great deal about wine....but that would be a red herring. ;)

            2. invinotheresverde Feb 16, 2010 08:06 AM

              How can any place billing itself as a wine bar not note vintages on the whole winelist? God...

              12 Replies
              1. re: invinotheresverde
                b
                Brad Ballinger Feb 16, 2010 10:09 AM

                They also list a Root Carmenere as being from Colchagua SPAIN, instead of Chile. And a Cuvee Anne Laure Rielsing as being from Alsace GERMANY instead of France. And they misspell Epernay as Eperinay. Can we take them seriously?

                1. re: Brad Ballinger
                  invinotheresverde Feb 16, 2010 10:30 AM

                  Not likely.

                  1. re: invinotheresverde
                    k
                    kevin47 Feb 16, 2010 11:22 AM

                    There are errors on the food side as well, which leads me to believe they outsourced menu production. The real question is whether their staff know wine, whether their cheese selections are sound, and whether the food is fresh and well suited to the wine selection.

                    1. re: kevin47
                      invinotheresverde Feb 16, 2010 11:38 AM

                      I disagree. No "wine bar" worth it's salt wouldn't list vintages for each and every bottle on their list. By not doing do, it implies that vintage isn't important. If vintage isn't important, what else isn't? Serving the wine at the proper temperature? Using the proper glass?

                      This list totally looks like one put together from distributors, and not from a knowledgeable owner/somm.

                      Also, if an outsourced printer gave me these menus, I'd laugh in his face and demand my money back. At the end of the day, it's the owner's reputation on the line and all these misspellings and errors make him look like an amature.

                      1. re: invinotheresverde
                        lstereo Mar 10, 2010 08:48 PM

                        My wife has been there twice in the past week. (I'm a snob and I'm not returning.) She mentioned that on both occasions the staff knew *nothing* about wine. One admitted it openly/directly and the other fumferred about.

                      2. re: kevin47
                        k
                        KTFoley Feb 16, 2010 12:11 PM

                        Looking forward to firsthand reports from individuals who visit the place. Anyone actually stopped in yet?

                        1. re: KTFoley
                          l
                          landers Feb 17, 2010 10:11 AM

                          This place was horrible! I went last night and the service was rude, the menu was limited (the only had 1/2 the items available), and they do not serve wines by the glass in decent steamware. When we asked for some better glasses we were told NO since they are reserved for bottle-only service. We had our drink and quickly left to go to a more hospitable place.

                          1. re: landers
                            k
                            kevin47 Feb 17, 2010 11:10 AM

                            They reserve the stemware for bottle service? That is indefensible. What are they, a nightclub?

                            1. re: kevin47
                              lstereo Mar 10, 2010 08:46 PM

                              I completely agree.

                        2. re: kevin47
                          b
                          Brad Ballinger Feb 16, 2010 12:12 PM

                          "There are errors on the food side as well"
                          1. Fin Herb Vinaigrette (don't know if they mean Fine Herb or Bin Herb)
                          2. Marinated vegi's
                          3. Spreads, Salsa's, and Tapenades
                          4. Portobello in one place; portabella in another -- both are acceptable variations; it just shows inconsistency and carelessness

                          1. re: kevin47
                            b
                            badger13 Feb 20, 2010 05:51 AM

                            Went there last night - - - put simply they need to improve the wine offering if they are going to survive. Very cool space though! I'm rooting for them and will chalk up this first edition of the wine list to a quick opening. I'd love to see some big, bold reds added by the glass and for the flight offering - it wasn't comforting to have the waiter recommend a reisling.

                            1. re: kevin47
                              t
                              TC Foodie Mar 2, 2010 07:17 AM

                              They don't. I've been there twice; met the owner. The staff is pleasant and well-meaning but they really know little about their products.

                              I ordered the cheese tray. When it was presented, no explanation as to what was on it (though it was obvious). I asked "what do we have here?" and he replied: this is prosciutto, this is gouda, this is brie etc... I clarified, asking where it's from? He said, brie is from France... gouda is from... ummm.. it's European... I clarified once more saying "Sorry, who made the cheeses?" And he added, "Oh, they're just commercial... nothing fancy or artisan".

                              Had a couple "flat breads" which are more akin to Neapolitan style pizzas. Nothing exceptional but they did taste fresh and service was fast.
                              The wine list is full of very average to crap, mostly. While the glass pours are reasonably priced for St. Paul (and the place was PACKED the two nights we went) it's really more a bar than a wine bar. How can you be a wine bar when you don't even have 100 selections? Many areas not yet represented. The owner said she wants to start a wine club and get opinions on the wine list.

                              I think she needs better, more diverse importers who know their product.

                              I'll give the block credit though. With the Bulldog, Barrios and Bin... plus another wine bar slated to be in that neck of the woods yet this year, St. Paul suddenly has a nightlife downtown. That's a good thing.

                      3. AnneInMpls Feb 16, 2010 07:58 AM

                        Bin Wine Bar is now open. It looks like the opening party occurred on schedule, because that's where Mayor Coleman was when they interviewed him on Saturday night after his "heroic dash for hospital" (the Strib's words, not mine :-).

                        Anyway, the web site now has hours and menus.
                        http://binwinebar.com/

                        Anne

                        1. d
                          dc1515 Jan 19, 2010 10:23 AM

                          does anyone have an update on this place?

                          aside from this article?
                          http://www.twincities.com/ci_14008759...

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: dc1515
                            b
                            billward4 Jan 26, 2010 08:39 AM

                            Grand Opening is Feb. 13

                          2. lstereo Nov 21, 2009 06:09 AM

                            A little more info
                            http://www.twincities.com/life/ci_138...

                            1. lstereo Nov 15, 2009 09:47 AM

                              I've walked by and construction seems to be on its way. That's all really.

                              1. j
                                japanabanana Nov 13, 2009 04:49 PM

                                I walked by today. Pretty empty. Their web site is of no help on this one.
                                http://binwinebar.com/

                                Show Hidden Posts