A Public Quest for Interesting Food Finds in Huntington

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Sunday, May 2, 2010

The Face of Bin 56

Bin 56 is an unusual restaurant model for Huntington. There’s a communal table that seats about 12, a few jaunty spots around the room with plush seating and coffee tables, and an ample bar. They even put the upholstered chairs outside when weather permits. The music is funky, the food delicious and the wine and cocktail listing a splendid, elegant collection. This is what you get when you go to Bin 56… what you feel is something else... Welcome.

John “Juan” Estevez is the face of Bin 56. He is gracious, attentive and makes everyone feel as though they are being welcomed into his home. He remembers what you drink, remembers the friends you came with last time and greets you with a warm embrace. Eating out as often as I do, there’s no other restaurant in my travels that has made me want to go back, in part, for the maitre d. The restaurant feels like home.

It turns out John’s roots are in Huntington. Remember the Iberian, where Besito is now? In 1977, when the Iberian opened, John was 15 years old. He worked along side his first-generation Spaniard parents for 17 years. My family frequented the Iberian when I was a kid; it offered the best paella in all the land – thinking back, there’s a good chance John and I met as kids. His mother then was the face of the Iberian; with her flaming red hair she was iconic.

But I digress… this isn’t a story about the Iberian.

John gives his mother the credit for his hospitality. He says he learned a lot about the restaurant business from her. After the family restaurant closed, he worked around New York City, including eleven years at the Manhattan Ocean Club, but says it’s good to be back in Huntington. He has been with Bin 56 for 14 months, since it opened. His family background explains why he occasionally slips into Spanish and why he is known by his frequent guests as Juan.

Bin 56 changed hands recently and is now owned by the Carey family. The menu has changed only slightly, now with chef James Tchinnis in the kitchen (previously of Bistro 44 in Northport). It still serves the appreciated tapas-style plates – with favorites including crispy calamari with a sweet and spicy glaze, lamb chops and skewered shrimp and chorizo. Among the cold plate favorites are lemonade shrimp cocktail, tuna tartare, asparagus wrapped in Serrano ham and the ever popular cheese plate. My personal favorite is the slow braised short ribs – it melts in your mouth. And there’s often a fresh pasta special that captures my attention.

Weekly & Monthly Specials –

  • For the wine lover – weekly wine specials are presented, off the regular cellar offering, just to keep things interesting.

  • Happy Hour from 5-7– branded “5@5” – means there is a selection of plates and wines offered for $5 during these hours.

  • Tuesdays are now known as Tarot Card Tuesdays – with someone on hand to read your future.

  • And here’s the kicker… one Monday a month, Bin 56 offers up a special Wine & Dinner flight starting at 6:30 p.m. The menu is centered on either a wine region or particular grape.

MAY WINE & DINNER NIGHT - Monday, May 10th - Bin 56 will pay homage to the Piedmont region of Northwestern Italy. Cost is $60 per person. Menu will include:

Boat Scallop Crudo paired with Castello Banfi Principessa Perlante
Cherry BBG Glazed Pork Loin paired with L’Ardi Dolcetto d’Acqui
Black Angus Flatiron Steak paired with Castello Banfi Regolo, and finally
Chocolate Covered Chocolate Cake paired with Castello Banfi Rosa Regalle

For these special Monday nights, best to call and make reservations, 631-812-0060. I’ll see you there.

56 Stewart Avenue, located next to Toast, diagonally across from Burger King.

1 comment:

  1. This sounds wonderful, thanks for the review and info. I spent my first 25 years in Huntington. I visit every once in a while, and there's so many eateries to choose from, it's nice to get to know them a little more, as in your post. It sounds like it's near the old "Lion's Cage" on NY Avenue (now I'm really dating myself!).