Bin 941 Tapas Parlour

Restaurant: Bin 941 Tapas Parlour

Cuisine: Tapas/Global/Contemporary
Last visited: November 4, 09

Area: Vancouver, BC (Downtown/West end)
941 Davie Street
Price Range: $20-301: Poor 2: OK 3: Good 4: Very good 5: Excellent 6: Tres Excellent!!

Food: 5
Service: 3
Ambiance: 2
Overall: 4
Additional comments:

  • Specializes in international/global tapas
  • Offers bigger tapas/smaller tapas
  • Chef owner Gord Martin
  • Local/organic/sustainable ingredients for 10+ years
  • Carefully prepared gourmet tapas
  • Creative and inventive dishes/presentation
  • Wine bar
  • Local gem
  • Contemporary/trendy/cosmopolitan atmosphere
  • Very small/crowded/busy
  • Loud/low lighting
  • Small tables/narrow space
  • Sister to Bin 942 Tapas Parlour
  • Family of Go Fish
  • Recipient of several Vancouver awards
  • $5 tapa specials “Pinxos” available
  • Opens 5pm-2am daily
**Recommendation:Beef Tenderloin Wellington, Pomme Frites, Mash, Gulf prawnsBin 941 is affordable fine dining. It’s a tapas place for small groups or even just couples. It accommodates it’s small space by designing a menu and tapas that are meant to be shared by 2 instead of the usual 4-6. The prices are steeper than most small plate restaurants of the same caliber with larger “tapas” at $16 and small tapas at $5-10. For me the larger tapas or “tapatisers” were more or less entrees/mains and they smaller tapas were the sides. For 2, you need about 2 “tapatisers” and 2-3 sides to feel satisfied.

The menu features globally inspired creations and the quality is top notch with presentation matching fine dining standards. Everything is made with care and detail and ingredients support organic/local/sustainable techniques. The food is excellent and almost everything tasted great. However it didn’t really feel like a tapas place because their”tapatisers” are basically small portioned main dishes. If I’m going to a tapas place I except to share my meal with at least 2-3 friends. But from the space, to the food, and even the tables – this is a tapas restaurant meant for 2.

On the table:

  • Complimentary tapa – Vegetable soup 4/6
    • I think this vegetable soup was squash based. Out server didn’t say what was in it besides calling it a “vegetable soup”.
    • It was thick, rich and very flavourful. It had a very pureed texture and I could definitely taste carrots, potato, celery, onions, squash and maybe even parsnip. All these ingredients actually stood out in the soup so they used the perfect ratio of each.
    • It had a little tang at the end, which was unexpected. It made me think they might have thickened it with some yogurt or sour cream.
    • It was really dark, which made pictures near impossible.
  • **Gulf Prawns 5/6
    • Yam string fried gulf prawns and sweet hot chile mayo $5
    • These were excellent! But unfortunately it’s on their Pinxos menu which changes every so often. It came with 2 and each prawn was huge and very tender. They cooked them perfectly and they still had that fresh seafood crunch.
    • It was a nice change from your once gourmet, and now typical, Panko-breading. Instead they used a batter made of shoestring cut yams and wrapped them tightly around the prawns. It created an extremely crispy and crunchy coating and it almost tasted like extra crispy fried chicken batter. Amazing and inventive.
    • To prevent it from getting soggy the sauce was underneath. The sauce was ok, it kind of tasted like Tabasco sauce and it was missing a sweet note.
    • Photo borrowed from www.chowtimes.com (mine was too dark)
  • **Pomme Frites 3/6
    • A mile high serving of shoestring frites and thick balsamic reduction layered throughout $6.
    • I’ve never seen fries done like this before and that’s why we had to order them.
    • These are knife and fork fries and very messy to eat, but the presentation is great.
    • Some of the fries were crispy, but some were so thin they absorbed a lot of oil and tasted soggy. The exterior wasn’t that oily though. They’re even good cold however I wish they would have seasoned them with more salt and pepper, I don’t even think they used pepper.
    • They’re popular, but more impressive than they taste. I probably wouldn’t order them again unless I was with at least 4 people though, because it was the only thing we ordered that was too much for 2.
    • I would have preferred a separate dipping sauce on the side.
  • **Beef Tenderloin 5/6
    • Beef tenderloin Wellington, mash, grainy mustard Marsala sauce $16
    • The beef tenderloin was probably seared, wrapped in a few sheets of filo pastry and baked. In between the sheets of filo and beef was I think basil and sauteed red peppers and mushrooms. It was very thin layer and you couldn’t really see it or even taste it.
    • The beef was really tender and juicy and well marinated with Rosemary. However it was quite small and not trimmed very well. It was so dark, I couldn’t tell if I was eating fat or soggy filo pastry sometimes.
    • We ordered it rare, but it was more on the medium side which was disappointing.
    • The sauce was thick and very reduced, almost syrupy with slight bitter notes. I couldn’t taste the grainy mustard though.
  • **The Mash 6/6
    • The mash was served under the beef and it was one of the best mashed potatoes I’ve had.
    • There were caramelized roasted whole garlic cloves throughout the mash. In the small pile of mash I had about 6 full cloves or garlic. They were so sweet and juicy – it was delicious. It was the creamiest mashed potatoes and they include the skins and some chives to give it more flavour.
  • Wild BC Salmon 4.5/6
    • Wild BC salmon, Indian curry potato cake with Marscapone, salmon skin tortilla chip, fire-roasted cherry tomatoes and leek sauce $16
    • Upon serving it the server takes out a mini perfume bottle and sprays the salmon with an “orange-blossom Vodka mist”. I couldn’t taste it at all.
    • The salmon was a little dry except for the thickest part which was moist. It was very plain – just bitter and no seasoning.
    • The leek sauce was cold, which I think would have tasted better hot. It needed some more spice because the salmon was so plain already.
    • The Indian curry potato cake tastes like the filling in a samosa. I think they used their standard in-house mash and added curry powder and Indian spices. It was still very good though. They served it with a dollop of Marscapone and salmon roe. The Marscapone tasted like melted whipped cream and they needed to serve it with more salmon roe. There were only 4.
    • The salmon skin tortilla chip was very crispy but also extremely oily. It was paper thin and I think they seasoned it with hot paprika or Wasabi powder because it was quite spicy.
  • Candied Fennel Seeds
    • These are the “mints” you get with the bill.
    • Sweet candy coating with a licorice taste.

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