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Mar 3, 2010 07:21 PM

Bina Osteria 2/28/10

We really enjoyed Bina back around when it first opend with the original chef. Since then we have been looking for a reason to return. About a month ago there was one of those "groupon" offers so we bit.

We began with the mushroom soup and the “Clams empanada with white wine and garlic” The soup was thick, hearty and very rustic,not a creamy puree and it allowed the different mushrooms to compliment one another. Very tasty. The name of the clam dish had me scratching my head, but I went with it anyway. My first thought was “Dear God that’s a lot of black pepper in that sauce”, which I happened to like but I’m not sure it would play in Peoria, there was a good dozen clams and under that pepper was some nice briny broth (which was black from the pepper).

We also shared the salumi platter, the winners there were the genoa-like salami and the speck ( the others were prosciutto and bresaola).

For mains we ordered the Carbonara and the Braised Wild Boar. My wife was psyched, she’s the queen of the Carbonara and there was such high praise here for that dish with the original chef. This preperation was the more “authentic” very eggy carbonara as opposed to the reduced cream, heavy parmasean, bacon and onion version prevalent in red sauce Italian joints ( not that there's anything wrong with that). The waiter mis-served us and placed the carbonara in front of me and the boar in front of my wife. I couldn’t resist, I know it’s rude, but I took a bite before exchanging plates after the server left.

Dang there’s that black pepper again, I knew my wife was going to be disappointed. Now to be fair, the dish as listed on the menu says “Spaghetti Alla Carbonara-egg, pepper, pecorino and panchetta”. She took a few bites and had to send it back asking to have the pepper reduced by a magnitude of 90%, the new dish was still pretty peppery. My only other experience with such heavily seasoned food was at Lupa in NYC and the server’s response was “that is the Batali way”. It’s kind of funny, Joanie posted not too long ago about her visit to Bina and the culprit was salt.

My boar was very good, a nice braise with rosemary undertones, the polenta was smooth and creamy, not thick and gloppy and the “three cheeses” were well balanced. Delicious.

I’d love to hear if anyone else has had any other over-seasoning experiences here. I am bummed that they have discontinued serving the “pig butter” with the bread basket ( thank goodness I have a vat of the lard and cracklings they serve at Polonia in the fridge- available at Baltic deli across the street from Polonia)

Some other little secret squirrel facts that not everybody might be aware of about Bina:
You can get $5.00 movie tickets for the AMC Boston Common theatre up the block at Bina and they validate parking at the Ritz Carlton garage next to the restaurant. $5.00-3 hrs. $7.00-5 Hrs.$10.00- 5+ Hrs.
There are other items on the menu that I would like to check out and hopefully the kitchen can keep their seasoning in check.

Bina Osteria
, Boston, MA 02108

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  1. Thanks for your review and the tip on parking. We haven't been for over a year, but we're heading back there in a couple of weeks for RW. I also have a Groupon GC, and I take that you had no trouble/issues using it?

    Thanks for the warning about black pepper. I am a black pepper freak, so hopefully I won't find it overwhelming.

    6 Replies
    1. re: y2000k

      No issues w/ the groupon. I did as the groupon requested and called in reso at least 24hrs in advance, let them know it was a groupon and the hostess asked that we inform our server as well (I thought that part was a little weird).

      1. re: Food4Thought

        F4T, can you also elaborate about the $5 Loews tickets? Do you just ask for them? Are they vouchers good for any movie @ any time? Or do they have to be used on the same day?

        P.S. Re: parking. I looked at BiNA's website:

        Parking Information
        Parking Validated after 5pm at Millenium Place Garage: $5 for up to 3 hours, $7 for up to 5 hours, and $10 for up to 10 hours (no overnight parking).

        Valet service is offered at the Ritz Carlton and Hyatt hotels, however NO DISCOUNT applies. We DO NOT validate for any other garages. Please present your parking ticket to your server.

        1. re: y2000k

          According to their web site:
          "We now offer $5 movie tickets to the Loews Theater on Tremont St. for guests making a food or beverage purchase. Supplies are limited, please call to reserve."

          There does appear to be a minor conflict between the web sit e (contact-> parking) and what is listed on the wine/ cocktail PDF where parking is mentioned

          1. re: Food4Thought

            UPDATE regarding the validated parking info:

            I think you and I both parked in the same garage. It's called Millenium Place Garage, but it's located below the Ritz-Carlton building. We entered the garage on Boylston St (just past Tremont, before St Francis House); the pedestrian entrance is on Avery Street next to the R-C entrance.

            Even though BiNA website didn't mention this, the validated parking rate is good for daytime during the weekends. We entered the garage yesterday (Sunday) before 5pm and parked for 5 hours. Without BiNA validation, it would have been $20. With validation, it was only $10. All-in-all, a nice combo for a Sunday matinee show in the theatre district followed by dinner @ BiNA.

          2. re: y2000k

            the boston common garage usually has an $11 all day special rate on the weekends.

            1. re: BoDubya

              Yes, we would have parked @ Boston Common garage (or at the Lafayette place - BiNA also validates @ Lafayette) if we weren't dining @ BiNA. BUT the weather yesterday was so atrocious that the Millenium Garage was the closest to both the theatre (the Maj) and the restaurant. We would have been soaked top to bottom if we had to walk from the Boston Common garage.

      2. I forgot how salty our stuff was until you mentioned it. Weird, they're having spastic seasoning problems in the kitchen it sounds like.