My girlfriend, born and raised in NW Mass, insists that everyone from the area knows that the Blue Binn Diner is terrible...she's got a good taste for food, so in light of the legendary reputation of Blue Binn, I had to try the place and see what was really going on. On Tuesday, I had some time to kill in Bennington VT, and sated my curiosity.
The food was really bad. I should probably use some more specific language, but frankly, the food was lacking in nearly every aspect. I am a huge fan of corned-beef hash, especially good diner hash. Blue Binn's was the wrong consistency, wrong taste, and cooked poorly.
(Specifically: too much oil leading to a thin, slimy texture; corned-beef too salty, with too little beef flavor; pan obviously too hot leading to a cool interior of the patty.)
I also ordered the meatloaf special. The meatloaf, while fork-tender soft, was of undistinguished flavor; the mashed potatoes, while obviously freshly made, were very bland and virtually unseasoned- the gravy was obviously and unpleasantly thickened (with a detectable note of...is that cornstarch?). Freshly prepared food is not inherently delicious if cooked poorly.
I will, however, give praise to two aspects of the experience which were deserving. My server was incredibly friendly and suggested the squash as the veggie side for the meatloaf. And the squash was, indeed, delicious, sweet and squashy and much more akin to the "excellent comfort food reputation" that I associated with Blue Binn over the years.
But on the whole, I have to agree with my girlfriend and her North Adams compatriots; Blue Binn was not good, not worth a special trip, and if I were in Bennington again I would choose to eat elsewhere.
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