“Oh My God!”
That is how we would describe this Friday dinner we had recently.
We had heard so much about the Bin 941 Tapas Parlour … read a number of reviews about them. We never thought it would be our kind of place. Reviews after reviews pointed out their loud music … and that it is dark … and that it is dingy.
Looking at Bin 941 from Davie just off Burrard, you will probably give this place a miss. With rusted looking frontage and just next to a pawn shop, what would you expect? We walked passed by Bin 941 many times. We did not think much of them.
It is cramped. And really small. If you had not known better, you would probably call this a hole in the wall.
There are only tables lining one side of the restaurant … really small tables. Put on a couple of plates and drinks, there is hardly any room left for anything else. The rest of the seats are at the bar.
Regardless, people tell me that the food is great. So I called ahead in the afternoon trying to make a reservation for a table for two. Well, they said that they DON’T take reservation. They told me that if I wanted to be sure of a table, we got to be there early. They open at 5PM for dinner. Only dinner, no lunch. They close late too. Real late … like 2AM.
So we went early. Too early as a matter of fact. It was 15 minutes before opening time. We just walked in because it was cold and windy at that time. Guess what … they shoo’ed us out! Where is the compassion?!? It was frigid cold out there. So we waited outside. It was awkward to say the least. At this point, we thought this whole place is a bad idea.
After 5 minutes, they came out and beckoned us in. “Sorry” they said. They added that it will be a few more minutes before they can tend to us. Fine by us. We were not in a hurry.
Got a drink. Beer on tap for me — $5. Suanne’s is just water — no charge. The drinks menu is just dominated by wine and beer. Certainly no bubble tea here for Suanne.
This place wasn’t that bad. The music was not loud. Certainly not discotheque loud as a reviewer claimed. The place kind of grew on us. Being the first customer that night, we snagged that great little table by the window. It was cramped with hardly any legroom to move.
But it was a fantastic window seat to enjoy the food … a cosy private little corner of our own … and watching the world go by.
It is people watching at its best.
Their menu is just a 1-pager. Very simple. Every single item looked great.
The menu said “Serious About Food” … “Serious About Fun”. They are right … Suanne and I had great food and we had fun too. You will see.
The waitress asked if we were here before. “Nope” we replied. She wanted us to know that they serve the meal one dish at a time. The concept is sharing. We like that. Anyway, between Suanne and I, we had ALWAYS shared our food.
Then the fun began.
We ordered their Pomme Frites. It was only $6. I had never had a taller pile of fries in my life. It was at least 6 inches tall, maybe 7. We have no idea how they managed to pile it so high.
No ketchup necessary. It was drizzled with Balsamic Vinegar. The shoestringy fries very crisp. It was great. Simply some of the best we ever had.
Suanne tugged on one piece and the whole structure … came tumbling down. It was a mess because it kept falling down and the thick sticky balsamic vinegar just smears all over the table.
We had fun and it took an awfully long time for us to finish this. We ended up with very sticky fingers. Eating this with fork is just impractical. We thought that the best eating utensil would be chopsticks.
The Steamed Cortez Island Mussels was next. It was $15.
There are three ways that they make this. We asked for Garlic Butter, Roma Tomato, Fresh Basil and White Wine.
The Mussels were plumb. Real nice. Again we ate with our fingers. The fingers were getting to be wrinkly. LOL!
There are two pieces of toasts. Only two. We wish they gave us more because the garlicky broth is so good. There is a strong taste of white wine and slightly spicy at the same time.
Duck Breast was our next choice. $16.
The menu said it has fingering potato hash, truffle oil, harricot vert and port cranberry jus.
The plating was pretty. We started with the potato hash. It has goat cheese which is a strange but pleasantly nice combination.
The duck was too rare for Suanne’s liking but I like it. The skin were crisp but the meat was kind of chewy.
The waitress asked us if we wanted dessert. I know Suanne. She felt guilty after all the food but I know she cannot resist dessert … especially cheesecakes.
So she said “No, thank you”.
Then after two minutes, she suddenly raised her hands and asked for the dessert menu. There were three options but she did not even care to look at the other two. She only wanted cheesecake.
Well … Suanne, the cheesecake fan, irrevocably declared this ranks as one of the best cheesecake she had ever had. The warm rum sauce and banana slices were just the perfect. This was not all that sweet as one may think. Nine bucks.
Bin 941 is simply one of the better meals we ever had.
Does anyone know why they call this place Bin 941? They have another restaurant called Bin 942. We will probably check that one out too one of these days.