By The Black Foodies
Restaurant Review of Bin 36
Restauranteur Enoch Shully has something very special going on in the West Loop. His restaurant Bin 36 (161 N. Jefferson Street) has an extensive cheese and wine list with a staff that can guide the wine novice or expert. The patio area is a superb setting for date night, small parties, or entertaining out of town guests. However, the most valuable asset Bin 36 may have is 27 year old Miami native, executive chef Angelina Bastidas. Chef Bastidas was a contestant on season 13 Top Chef which airs on Bravo network. Chef Bastidas is the maestro and her staff the orchestra hitting all the right notes in the kitchen. Her dishes subtly unfold different flavor profiles with each bite and are visually stunning. You fall in love with her dishes before you taste them!
We first sampled an appetizer General Tso’s Chicken Wings. These wings were deep fried, coated in a sticky sweet-n-spicy sauce, topped with sesame seeds, garnished with thinly sliced scallions, and served with a ranch dipping sauce. First let me tell you, “The Colonel cannot touch the General’s wings”. The sauce was just the right consistency, sticky but not too sticky and clung to the wings just right. Biting through the perfect crunch we tasted notes of garlic, soy sauce, ginger, chili’s, and a floral orange rounded out this flavor explosion. The buttermilk ratio in the ranch sauce was spot on as well. Where have these wings been all our lives?!
We next sampled the Heirloom Tomato Salad. Accompanying the tomatoes was gorgonzola blue cheese, Thai basil, hazelnuts, and was topped with a dollop of peach sorbet. What a masterful blend of ingredients. This salad definitely screams summer! The tomatoes were organic, sourced from local farmers, and full of flavor. The tomatoes were so juicy and flavorful it was as if they were soaked in a yummy marinade. The deep full flavor of the gorgonzola just popped in your mouth. The Thai basil just popped in your mouth. The hazelnuts just popped in your mouth. Being popped in your mouth has never been so wonderful. As the peach sorbet melted, it made the perfect dressing for this salad.
Up next were the Sesame Crusted Scallops. Chimichurri, shaved brussels, corn puree, and a pearl onion confit nestled around the scallops on a breathtakingly alluring plate. After tasting these scallops, we started to realize that Chef Bastidas is a chef wise beyond her years. The scallops were sweet, juicy, tender, and cooked flawlessly. The toasted sesame seeds added texture and the other players in the dish proved to us Chef Bastidas has a unique sense of what flavors marry well together. This dish was just delightful!
Next on the flavor train was the salmon. It was topped with fresh arugula, pickled fresno peppers, and the serving plate was drizzled with an aji amarillo sauce. The plate was so beautiful we almost didn’t want to disturb such a masterpiece. Like we said ALMOST. The salmon was moist, flaky, and cooked to a perfect medium. The peppery arugula and the fresno peppers complimented the salmon by adding a fresh component to the protein. Each bite was so fresh and delicious it was like being transported to the Great Northwest. Once again, we were not disappointed.
Now on to the Spiced Ribeye Steak. The ribeye was sliced and served with roasted cauliflower, shiitake mushrooms, bordelaise sauce, and a horseradish butter. First, we could have eaten a bowl of the mushrooms all by themselves. They were absolutely spectacular! The full bold flavor of the mushrooms with the melt in your mouth ribeye made us feel as if we were judges on Iron Chef America. The bordelaise and horseradish butter joined the party and it was lights out. I loved the roasted cauliflower in the dish while Miss Coretta could have done without it. Nonetheless, a super dish and another homerun.
For dessert we were brought the Deconstructed Cheesecake and the Baked Meringue. Let’s start with the cheesecake. It consisted of the cheesecake portion, fresh basil, fresh strawberries, strawberry gel, and pine nuts. In one word this cheesecake was amazing! The best part of the deconstruction was the fact that each component can be tasted separately. The cheesecake portion had a mousse consistency and was sweet but not too sweet. The basil added a savory element that went surprisingly well with this dessert. The strawberries were sliced and fresh while the strawberry gel burst with strawberry flavor. When all these components were reconstructed with the pine nut crust, it made for a very satisfying bite. Next up is the sexy looking Baked Meringue, which tasted as good as it looked. The meringue was filled with whipped cream sitting atop a lemon curd and drizzled with a tarragon syrup with fresh black berries. The meringue was baked to an almost taffy consistency. The whipped cream and tarragon syrup added sweetness. The tartness of the lemon curd and black berries were the perfect contrast to all of the sweetness, balancing this dish. What a great way to end a meal.
Bin 36 was a delightful dining experience. The cheese and wine flights are top flight. They even offer $8 lunch specials during the week. Parking is what it is being the West Loop. Under the leadership of owner Enoch Schully, Bin 36 is a destination spot in Chicago.
We rank restaurants based on number of kisses (one thru five). One…two…three, four with five being the best. Bin 36 receives 5 kisses. Check out the video of our review at https://youtu.be/aiJAAyzx-M0.
The Black Foodies are food bloggers/vloggers and husband and wife of 25 years. We are also home cooks that believe in group economics and LOVE great food. We write the food blog ‘Let’s Eat’, where we review black owned and other ethnic restaurants. FOLLOW us on Instagram and Twitter @theblackfoodies, SUBSCRIBE to our YouTube Channel ‘The Black Foodies’, where we review restaurants, share recipes, and give cooking tips. https://youtu.be/f1fsSQ24wgQ. Also LIKE us on Facebook and join our Facebook group, ‘World Wide Black Foodies’.
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