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“Bin on Bleecker, by Dara Pollak”

  Occasion: Cuisine: Area: Cost: Rating:
  Night Out New American West Village Moderate Good

On a cold, wintery New York night, sometimes you just need to warm up with a glass of red wine and some hearty food. Stepping into Bin on Bleecker in the West Village (which was previously Bar’rique), you can smell the aromas wafting out of the open kitchen as you scan the room; the air is calm, people are chatting, the hostess greets you with a smile, seats you at a leather banquette, offers you the large (but not overwhelming) wine list, and you know you’re going to be fine.

At most wine bars, you can expect the usual charcuterie selection, crostini, and small plates, but Bin on Bleecker has a pretty gracious menu. Brought to you by Lawrence Bondulich, son of restaurateur Al Bondulich (owner of Bondini’s), you'll reap the benefits of his experience and knowledge on both sides of the marble bar. The wines are mostly organic and sustainable, and the food menu offers seasonal, entrée-sized portions of “Global, New American” dishes like meatballs, short ribs, and roasted chicken. The service was impeccable as well, making it a lovely place to really just wind down.

When it comes to choosing a wine, I have yet to meet too many varietals that I don’t like, but we were having trouble deciding between two reds, so the very friendly waitress let us taste both before we settled on a well-rounded, medium bodied 2008 Foradori Teroldego. It paired nicely with the charcuterie plate, which comprised of three meats (soppresata, prosciutto di parma, and bresaola) and three cheeses (triple cream La Tur, Asiago Pressato, and aged Parmigiano Reggiano). The prosciutto was salty, the Asiago was extra sharp, and the Parmigiano Reggiano was nutty and crumbly, a nice antithesis to the tart Granny Smith apples and honey that is served with the selections. It is my belief that charcuterie should be served with every meal as an appetizer.

Even though crostini is something you can find in practically every wine bar, you still have to try one or two because let’s face it, they are a good palate teaser for wine. We tried two: crostini with ricotta, honey, almonds and thyme, and crostini with truffled white beans and chives. The ricotta, honey, almonds and thyme was the winner here – the flavors worked wonderfully together, playing off of the sweet, nutty and herbaceous notes. The white bean and chives was ok, but a little bland. Lesson learned so far: honey and cheese is a winning combination.

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