Bin No. 220: A Seaport Secret
To most, NYC’s South Street Seaport conjures images of tourists, cobblestones, and colonial era sailing ships that saw better days long ago. Not exactly the locale where one would expect to find a calm, dimly lit Italian wine bar with excellent service and house-infused chili olive oil that will set your mouth on fire repeatedly. Alas, here I am to champion Front Street’s Bin No. 220. It’s exactly the type of nook that challenges the noisy Seaport vibe that has too often sent me to The Cowgirl Seahorse to guzzle margaritas in hopes of forgetting the hordes of toddlers and moms with fanny packs.
Though the Bin’s phones were down when I visited, (and I managed to stumble past the nook a few times before finding the doors open) once I did find myself inside, I was pleasantly surprised by the paper bag menus, pillow-laden banquette seating, and my bottle of Montelpulciano.
I’d found the 5-year-old spot via Gilt City, and the gift certificate I had included a bottle of wine, antipasto platter and olive oil sampling plate. From the time I sat down and relieved my stiletto-clad feet, little bits of Italian heaven started passing through my lips and I was in love.
For sips, we went with La Murola Montelpulciano d’Abruzzo, 2008 ($35). It had a smoky, peppery nose, and was very earthy–like dark soil after an intense summer thunderstorm. It was not as tumultous as a thunderstorm in my mouth though–smooth and pleasant with hints of fruitiness, it went great with our antipasto platter.
At first, I’d been worried when I checked out the wine list, since I had no idea what would be on the platter. Traditionally, this red is great with Italian dishes doused in tomato sauce, as well as lamb and other grilled meats. Luckily for us, our platter was dominated by cured meats and hard cheeses–other natural pairings for Montelpulciano! Together, the salty, fatty meats and fruity, energetic Murola created balanced food/wine harmony (Cue angels singing here).
And for dips, the trio of oils did not disappoint. Served with the simplest ciabatta (which makes Wonderbread look flavorful) we were able to taste all the little elements that make an oil special–bitterness, sweetness, spiciness, you name it. Our favorite on the bread was the classic Extra Virgin, which was a deep green hue and had the type of richness that makes you say, “Oh my God, forget the no-carb diet! Get me some bread, wasting this is a sin!” The chili and rosemary infusions were tasty, but extremely powerful–we think they’d be better when cooking or alongside stronger flavors.
Long story short: I’ll be back at the Bin soon.
Bin No. 220 Uncorked
Laura Loves: Extra Virginity by Tom Mueller (AKA the book that took my relationship with olive oil to a Whole New Level.
That Bin No. 220’s house-infused oils are available for sale.
Fun Facts: The wine list at this spot is not organized by color, flavor or region, but by the co-owners tastes. (Don’t feel stupid when you look at the menu, “Calli” and “Sandy” aren’t strange wine terms.)
Bin is great for: A cozy, intimate dinner date. (Awwwwww)
An alternative to the jam-packed Stone Street Happy Hour scene.
It’s not designed for: Groups larger than 5 or 6.