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Resto Owners Respond: Bin 8945 is More Than a Wine Bar

Restaurateurs are in it to make money, so if you're not pleased, they're SOL. Sadly, some have no clue and just continue to do what they do regardless of what people think; sadder still, those places tend to be packed. But some actually care about what they're doing. Case in point: David Haskell, co-owner and manager of Bin 8945, saw our Good News/Bad News post last week, and wanted to clarify a few things about the little space that's garnering big critiques. The letter he sent opens Bin up to a slew of controversy---with so much on the table, people are certain to openly bitch about not getting this or that---but we're happy to relay the message. First off, it's no longer just a wine bar, it's a "pairing place." Secondly, dishes aren't meant for sharing. Thirdly?
· Good News/Bad News: Bin 8945 [Eater LA]

[Editor's emphasis in bold]

Dear Eater LA,
I wanted to respond to Good Bin 8945/Bad Bin 8945. I was happy to see it on Eater LA because now I have the forum to respond to some of the comments.

When I opened Bin, I envisioned people sitting and eating lots of different foods and having an array of wines. Most people started to ask me to do their menus and wine pairings. Bin was evolving. First, with Mike Bryant coming to Bin we decided to change the name from “Bin 8945 Wine Bar and Bistro” to just “Bin 8945.” Bin is a place where you can come in and have a personalized experience. Splitting dishes no longer works, his ingredients are meant to be eaten as a unified whole. You can order a lot of different things; we will course it out for you and you can pass the food back and forth. The portion size when you try to split dishes will become too small on most items. The Captains are instructed to tell everyone this. I just had 3 days of training with the total crew to improve the way we serve our clients.

We are lucky that we have 47 seats. I want to be able to give every table and person a different experience. If you want to do a tasting menu that is only fish we can do it, only meat (fine), only vegetables (no problem). We have gotten rid of the rules when it comes to tastings; i.e. that everyone has to do the same thing with no substitutions. Where other restaurants say NO, we say YES. We do a 5 course, 7 course, and Bin Tasting (we stop when you want.) We can build this around a bottle of wine or pair the wine to the food, or do a different glass with each course. These are all spontaneous. We want the client to have a different experience every time they come in. We are not a “Wine Bar” in fact we never were the typical wine bar in any case. We are a place that has 70 wines by the glass and 700 bottles. We give the client the ability to come in and try different wines with different foods. Whether you want a tasting menu or order a la carte, we want to give you an experience with food and wine in an unstuffy environment. We are a Pairing place.

We are also unlucky because we have 47 seats -- 8 tables inside, 10 outside, 6 seats at the bar, and 4 seats at the chef’s counter. We are an intimate space. We cannot accommodate everyone. We are 90 percent reservation between the hours of 7:00-10:00. The bar gets busy from 6:30-11:00. I wish I could accommodate all requests for tables, but I can't. I am committed to having a restaurant for people who love food and wine. I wish that people would call me if they had a problem. Writing on the internet is a wonderful forum, but we will be able to serve the public better if they address any issues right then at the restaurant. I am at the restaurant every night and it's easier to rectify a problem right away.

I want to thank our good clientele for pointing out this site. I try not to respond to the comments on the internet, but I felt this was a good time for Bin and me to clarify who and what we are; a restaurant devoted to its clients, trying to do something that is new and different.

Thank You,
David Haskell