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.