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Chicago Area

Bin 36 (Lincolnshire) report

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Restaurants & Bars

Bin 36 (Lincolnshire) report

HotDillPickle | Oct 27, 2003 03:39 PM

I went to Bin 36 (Lincolnshire location) on Saturday and had a wonderful time. I will confess that of the three major elements of the evening, the food, wine and my date, the later two items were more interesting that the first.

The restaurant design was interesting - you walk through a wine store, then a bar, and then go into the restaurant itself. To my relief, the noise level went down as you walked deeper into the location. Too much noise is a pet peeve of mine, but I was very happy with the noise level in the restaurant and did not pay it another thought as the evening progressed.

For those who have not been there, Bin 36 has an interesting wine-matching game you can play. You have the menu on the first page, and then groupings of wine on the opposite page of the menu. Under each food item is two “bin” or grouping suggestions. You can pick your food first, and then find the bin number which “matches” the other page, or, pick your wine grouping and go backwards. It is somewhat complicated, but fun, and by the way, a great ice breaker on a first date.

Contrarian that I am, I mixed everything up and chose an appetizer I wanted (Warm Lobster and Crab Fondue” with a corresponding Chardonnay “flight” (a grouping of four ½ glasses of different wines), and then picked a "Red Aussie" (Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz) flight, and a steak (shoulder cut?) to go with that. My date had a crab cakes with “old bay” aioli sauce, and salmon special, and went with individual glasses of wine (she was a pro at choosing) to go with it.

The wine was more interesting than the food. The “fondue" was a baked mix of lobster and crab bits heavily covered with a lot of bread crumbs and browned parmesan cheese on top, with flat-bread pieces on the side. There was a generous amount (about a cup) of the food, but as the dish was very rich, it was a little too much on its own. I would have liked to balance the fat of the cheese with a little citric acid something or other.

The wine flight was a series of Chardonnays, my favorite being the 2001 Chardonnay, De Bortoli, "Riverina," from Southeastern Australia. This wine is like biting into a juicy ripe apple without the core. YUM!!! (By the way, I did not write the previous sentence. It came from a piece a paper that comes with each flight with the names and descriptions of each wine. This is most helpful to the novice such as myself. The restaurant also likes the idea, as you can take the piece of paper with you to the store and buy that bottle as you leave for the evening.)

The steak was less successful, as I ordered medium rare and it back rare, if not blue. Now there are times I am in the mood for good raw red meat just thrown onto the floor where I can fight the dog for it, but I was not in such a mood and thus, disappointed. I enjoyed the Shirazes more than the Cabernet Sauvignons (less “bite” on the tongue), but I honestly have to say I was losing the ability to discriminate as the second hour turned to the third. (I also kept putting my glass onto the wrong position on the diagrammed paper they give you to give the different wines sorted.)

The dessert was a chocolate mousse crème brulee that also was very rich. But I’ve never met chocolate I couldn’t devoir, and I did myself proud here.

Bottom line: Great date place, very good wine introduction concept, and not extraordinary food. But a wonderful evening.

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