Has anyone had the opportunity to try Kevin Binkley's new restaurant?
Haven't dined there but I saw this mini-review today (Friday) from Seftel in the Arizona Republic:
I think you would have to waterboard Howard for a week to get him to say something bad about Kevin Binkley, but reading between the lines the veggie dishes are excellent, the deserts are good, but there are too many bland common entrees. And he thinks it's best to wait a bit until they get the service kinks ironed out.
Along those lines (waiting on a new restaurant to settle in) in the same paper he has an article "Don’t Go To Restaurants Right After They Open".
OUTSTANDING food. Service is a work in progress.
We arrived for dinner last night and were surprised to find the restaurant in what looked to be a renovated house. The ambiance is quite comfortable.
Looking at the menu, and reading Seftel's article, we decided to pursue the appetizers.
The highlight of any meal that I have ever had at a Binkley restaurant is his treatment of soup. We were not disappointed with the Roasted Parsnip soup. If I could have, I would have licked the bowl.
Next came the deep fried baby back rib. The hot honey sauce that this came with was so good that I kept it to dip some bread in.
Contrary to Seftel's advice, I proceeded with the foie gras beignet. I have to admit, the foie gras seemed to be absent, however, my wife, not being a foie gras eater, took a bite and claimed that she loved the beignet with the blood orange marmalade.
Next up was the Crispy Sweetbread Nuggets with the sweet and sour sauce. The sweetbreads were done perfectly, however I found the sauce a bit overpowering. A lighter hand with the sauce would have been great.
The Burratta looked and tasted like it could have been served as a dessert. It was very creamy and nicely complemented by the sweet and sour prunes.
Another winner was the Octopus, perfectly cooked.
We followed this up with the beef and barley risotto which was intensely rich and flavorful. Extraordinary to say the least.
We added the french fries which were perfectly cooked and accompanied by 3 great dipping sauces.
For dessert, we had the butternut squash ice cream pop and the cake donut with butterscotch sauce. The ice cream pop at $4 is a must have.
The quality and presentation of the food more than made up for the many hiccups in the service for the evening. We were very full with our appetizer adventures and quite surprised at how reasonable the final bill was. Once the service issues are ironed out, I think Bink's Midtown has the potential to be one of the top restaurant destinations in town.
I was there last night as well! Loved the brussel sprouts, mussels, broccoli, and pretty good cocktails too. The patio facing Osborn was surprisingly quiet and nice. We also made it an appetizer dinner - the entrees didn't look too exciting but the apps and produce were great and we like eating in small plates format.
Our service could have been more polished and we could have gotten our drinks faster but overall I found the staff enthusiastic and am sure they'll work out the kinks pretty quick. For being open under 2 weeks I was pleased.
I preface this by saying that I love Binkley's (Cave Creek) - been there many times and have always enjoyed the experience.
I was excited about Bink's midtown as it's much closer and seems to be a more casual dining experience (not the 4 hour extravaganza up north).
We started at the bar with the cocktails - the margarita was different and excellent (with cilantro, jalapeno, cucumber). The shots/'bombs' were a disappointment. One of our favorite amuse bouche at Binkley's is the mango bomb (in this format it's a disappointment). For appetizers we went with the fois gras beignet - which had almost no foie gras, and was a bit disappointing. The burrata was good, the risotto another disappointment. On the entree side, the duck breast was nice - but of the two orders (both ordered medium rare), one was cooked to well done, the other medium. The salmon was fairly standard. The desserts were the highlight of the meal - particularly the chocolate puddin' cake. The waiter did not seem to know the wine list well - his pairings were misguided.
I'm hoping that some of the disappointment can be put down to growing pains - we did go on 3/26. My concern is that the menu seems too expansive and unfocused to allow enough attention for each dish. Had I not already been to Binkley's, perhaps my expectations would have been tempered... For the price though, I think there are better options in Phoenix. May give it another try after some of the kinks are ironed out.
Just tried it.
- Sweetbread nuggets
- Deep-fried baby back ribs
- Bone marrow
- Roasted sweet potato (the ketchup really ruined it)
There were obviously hits and misses (as noted above), but the one overriding feeling I have of Bink's Midtown can be summed up this way:
The plating and presentation is fabulous, but the taste of the food never quite lives up to its looks.
In many ways, it's quite like the dating scene in North Scottsdale.
Yes, and on two occasions. The first was a business dinner, with a fixed menu, which was very good, thought the "event's" wine selections left something for me to desire.
The other was two couples dining, and I had more latitude for the wines. Everything was very good, to a few "greats."
Will dine there again.
Adding an update to report on a dinner that three of us had a few weeks ago:
On a Monday night, the place was almost deserted. Most people were eating outside, but I thought it was too cold (ok, I am a wimp, but it was November after all...), so asked for a table inside mentioning chill. Table was fine, but right under a very active AC vent. Took some persuading to get them to turn down the AC even though the room was empty. Other than the temp, the room had a cozy feel.
Service was sort of hit and miss: friendly, but sometimes long waits for food, and things brought out inconsistently.
Between the three of us we tried:
good cocktails: both my Port Old Fashioned and my friend's Dirty Greyhound Margarita got a thumbs up (though my Old Fashioned was a bit small for $12...)
Grilled dates: recommended highly by the server: good, but then it is dates and prosciutto, hard to go too wrong. Not the be-all, end-all that the server's description promised.
house bread: some type of biscuit, forget the description but I think it was blue corn (based on the color), and quite undercooked.
White bean soup: I didn't taste it, but hubby enjoyed it quite a bit. Looked very, very hearty, probably heartier than I would have wanted for an appetizer.
Kale cold plate, which was really a salad: my friend's choice. Again, I didn't try it but she raved and polished off every bite of a huge serving. Looked delicious.
Little Gems salad: my salad was meh: the lettuce seemed a bit tough for a little gem and it was a bit overdressed. Oven dried tomatoes were nice.
Tortilla Soup Meatballs: I find it hard to pass up meatballs when on a menu, these were again, somewhat meh and over salted. Liked the idea but think it missed on execution. I was wavering between these and the duck breast and the server recommended the duck, saying that the meatballs would not be enough food as a main. Actually, it was plenty of food, but I probably still should have listened to the hidden message.
corn pasta: friend's choice, this I tasted and did like. Nicely cooked, and again, it was polished off.
sand dabs: yes, Phoenix is landlocked but hubby couldn't resist. I thought they were the hit of the night along with the ice cream for dessert. Buttery, perfectly cooked, delicious.
roasted sweet potatoes: delicious.
none of the desserts appealed but the ice cream that accompanied one of them, mint, did, so we just had mint ice cream for dessert. That was the highlight of the meal. Best mint ice cream I've had in well, forever. Espresso was also good.
Total for the three of us with tax, all of above and a glass of wine was about $160 before tip. The restaurant is very close to my friends house and I am glad to have tried it, but not in a rush to go back.