Posted by George Froehlich of Savvy Insider
Bin 941, A Vancouver Chefs’ Favorite Pick, Consistently
Every major city in the world has them.
Restaurants that serve excellent food at reasonable prices.
As a rule they tend to have a bohemian chic look and feel to them.
The wait staff is young, knowledgeable and really knows their stuff.
And above all, people in the know – waiters and restaurant staff favour these places.
Vancouver is no exception.
There are at least two of them.
Bin 941 is on Davie Street just off Burrard.
Bin 942 is on West Broadway around the corner from Granville Street.
We have chosen Bin 941.
A funky, off the wall, decor gives this long narrow room a decidedly with-it look.
By six o’clock on a weekday evening the place is full, in fact people are waiting to get seated.
We are given a menu and even a choice of seats because we arrived as soon as Bin 941 opened at 5 p.m.
Menus come quickly and our questions are answered with knowledge and by someone who knows their stuff.
Bin 941 is a tapas parlour – a place where they serve portions small enough so you can taste a lot of different foods.
We order four dishes for three of us, one, the Bison flat iron steak is a recommendation from the server.
The other three are, a salsa, crab cakes and duck breast.
Each course, it is explained, will come separately and only after the previous one is eaten.
What a great and leisurely way to dine.
First up is the salsa.
Now this is no ordinary salsa. This is salsa that is sublime. It come as a big square, solid looking and surrounded by different tiny lines of different dipping sauces, atop a tiny piece of goat cheese. Several slices of Navajo fry bread are there for dipping into the sauces and topping them off with the salsa.
In one word outstanding. The salsa has a definite kick to it, sharp and yet the full-bodied essence of the tomatoes is there. The bread – we’ve never heard of it, let alone tried it, is the perfect accompaniment to the salsa, crisp on the outside and chewy on the inside.
The taste is somewhat like a donut without the sweetness.
Next up are the East West crab cakes. The presentation is awesome. Several crab cakes atop each other, surrounded by burnt orange chipotle sauce, charred baby bok choy, cucumber salsa and tobiko, a flying fish roe.
Yum yum yum. Everything comes together perfectly; the flavours all complement each other. The crab cakes are crisp on the outside and moist and sweet tasting on the inside. And that bok choy with a slightly bitter taste and that amazing salsa (light and refreshing) with a chipotle sauce – a marriage made in heaven.
The Yucatan spice rub Bison flat iron steak is another perfect combo of flavours, textures and taste. But when you consider the ingredients it comes as no surprise.
The steak has a tequila lime sauce with it, pumpkin spiced pearl onions, jicama fried yuca salad (what a surprise, you could not tell it was fried, it was crunchy and had a bit of a tart taste to it), cilantro and poblano chile sauce.
Last was the crispy skin free range Wentzel duck breast. The duck tender, bursting with flavour, sauced lightly with a port sundried cranberry sauce.
Small stalks of green beans with a touch of truffle to them came with a heavenly potato hash that had pancetta and goat cheese in it. This was the best we ever had.
To round it all off, we chose a creme brulee made with Mexican chocolate and Bailey’s Irish cream liquor. To die for.
And here comes the best part – the bill and this included a couple of beers, a fine Chardonnay and some sparkling water, was well under $100.
No wonder the place is packed early and the restaurant industry loves it.