Monday, October 23, 2006

Bin 26 Enoteca - Boston, MA

26 Charles St
Boston, MA 02114
(617) 723-5939

Beacon Hill has never been my favorite neighborhood for food. Depending upon where in the neighborhood you go, and on what part of the week you happen to go there, parking, the lines , and service can be annoying -- or at least a challenge to be overcome. So, when I hear that my good friend and colleague, Pat Mitchell, had chosen Bin 26 for a small gathering and dinner, I brought my predisposition against Beacon Hill with me.

I must admit being pleasantly surprised. Bin 26 Enoteca is a new arrival on the Boston restaurant scene, having replaced Torch, at the same location. Torch was never all that impressive -- the layout and cuisine never quite worked for me. Bin 26 Enoteca is much different. "Enoteca" has been translated a few different ways -- the most common definition seems to be a special wine "library" or a place for people to meet to taste wine. From the outside, this "library" of sorts seems small. As you enter, you realize that the brother and sister team that created this place (more on that below) were actually pretty creative about using space. The layout is creative, with plenty of neat seating areas. The ambiance of the place is busy yet not noisy. Exciting yet soothing at the same time. The wine library concept is never far from view -- check out corkscrew coat hooks, for example.

We were seated in a seating section in the back -- which was a bit sheltered from the main area, which was only a few steps away. The shelter made the table feel more intimate while still allowing the hint of activity around the corner to be present.

Bin 26 is the latest creation of Babak and Azita Bina (-Seibel) -- who are the folks behind Lala Rokh, the long standing Beacon Hill haunt. I personally think the Enoteca is more creative. The food was simple, yet intriguing. The service was attentive -- if just a tad bit off. Our waiter was friendly, however, which made up for the few points of minor awkwardness. The wine list was interesting -- though only one port, a ten year Tawny, seemed to be available the evening we were there.

Either the (a) email links that are shown on the restaurant's web site don't work, or (b) the folks who read the emails really don't care to respond. Having not brought a menu with me after my meal, a few weeks ago, I had asked by email for a copy of the menu at Bin 26 so that I would be better able to present it on my blog. No response to this day.

Until I can grab a menu to further document our meals, you'll just have to navigate the menu on your own. Bon appetite!

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