Saturday, February 24, 2007

Tales of Tapenade

I’ve raved about Bin 22 in the past. Last night we popped in for dinner, and I’m raving about them again. The wine list continues to change and feature wines from the interesting to the somewhat obscure (we had a red vin de pays from the Catalan area of France). We also noticed the Avinyo Rosado sparkling on the list. Both my husband and I adore this bubbly. It is hearty enough to stand up to a variety of food (we enjoyed it with chicken with olives and capers) and the light red color just adds to its charm. Bin 22 is carrying it for $32 (it retails for $20, thus, a very decent restaurant price). I hope the Rosado becomes a stable part of the wine list.

The menu remains simple and unpretentious with appetizers, salads, and paninis. They also offered two soups – Roasted Oyster and Butternut Squash. Both were tempting, but we opted to share the tapenade instead and then order paninis (still $8). I’ve described the pressed sandwiches before. They were good as always and are still accompanied by a small mixed green salad with balsamic vinaigrette and a couple of pear slices (the pears were very ripe and very tasty!). What I want to expound upon this time is the tapanade. Wow! A black olive and oil mixture served with thin slices of toasted bread, seasoned with salt and pepper and sprinkled with grated parmesan. It was the best we have ever eaten. And here’s the really strange part. While I thought the spread was mild, my hubby thought the taste was strong. It turned out that we were both right. Tapenades that I normally eat generally have a very strong briny taste. Bin 22’s version did not, thus, my deeming it mild. My spouse, on the other hand, thought that the olives were very meaty – the oliveness really came through, which in his book earned the spread a strong description. The tapenade had enough oil in it so when it was spread on the toast, the interior of the bread soaked up the oil and became chewy on the inside, yet crunchy on the outside. Both of us enjoyed this effect. I also liked the fresh basil leaf garnish. It added a different taste dimension. This appetizer was only $4 and can definitely be shared by two. And it paired very well with our French country wine.

I think the tapanade is great as the beginning of a meal at Bin 22, but it also lends itself to dropping by for an appetizer and a glass of wine before going elsewhere for dinner. I can also see it serving as a later-in-the-evening snack (after watching the 7:15 PM show at the Byrd). And, as always, Greg and the rest of the staff are welcoming and attentive.

1 comment:

matthew said...

i'm a software guy in richmond who is working on a new web site catering to bloggers. before launching the site, i'd really like to gather some feedback from some of the bloggers around here, to see which things i should try to improve before the site officially launches. if you'd like to participate, check out my new blog at and i'll help you get started. keep up the good blogging!