Bin there done that
We are spiritually drawn to new burger joints. When we hear of an opening, our eyes go white and ephemeral and we slowly float there, as if called by some great demon. We musssssst gooooo…
Bin 4 Burger Lounge has been open in Nanaimo for a few weeks now, but we knew better then to try to get in there right at launch. Nanaimo is nuts for new restaurants and sure enough when we drove by on occasional evenings during the first few weeks the restaurant was open, there were long lineups outside. In the rain. In a pandemic. You’re silly, Nanaimo. We were perfectly happy to try out the very good Top Notch Burgers downtown instead, but we could still feel our souls pulled northward…
Bin 4 is part of a small chain, so you might have visited one in Victoria (or elsewhere) before. Our guess is that the Nanaimo experience is similar to the other locations, but we did note that they have separate menus by location listed on their website. Maybe you can get location-specific entrees or something.
Our visit took place on a weeknight, but we still had to make a reservation for later in the evening to get a seat. When we showed up, it didn’t seem all that busy, though – which suited us just fine. The hostess was friendly and welcomed us promptly. We were seated in a small booth that was quite comfortable. Firm seat, table at the right height — it’s a small thing, but it was noticeable enough for us to think back to the awkwardly low table we had at Top Notch.
Our server was right out, delivering a small sampler of the house-made kettle chips, and menus, including a seasonal menu insert. We love seasonal menu inserts. They encourage us to come back again to see what’s cooking in the subsequent season.
Our server was also kind enough to ask if we’d visited before, and as we hadn’t, gave us a quick tour of the menu. We like that. We skipped the cocktails this time and ordered a couple of beers off their modest beer list. We also skipped appetizers. We were not super hungry this particular night and besides, they didn’t have poutine for us to test.
Naturally we were here for burgers, so we ignored the rest of the menu and ordered a couple of pattyslaps. She ordered the Sweet Corn and Chipotle chicken burger with a house salad and he ordered (from the seasonal menu insert!) the Not So Boaring wild hog and bacon burger with a side of more of those kettle chips.
The chicken burger came loaded with a sweet corn, pepper, and jalapeño salsa; cilantro (ed. note – blech); goat cheese; and the usual lettuce and tomato. The chicken was well cooked and the bun was toasty. The taste was great although some of the fresh and spicy flavours got lost in the powerful goat cheese taste. It was a bit tricky to eat too, given that corn kernels were falling all over, but we got what we asked for on that one. Overall though this was a great tasting burger that was satisfying to eat, and filling.
The side salad was basic, but was still a step above your typical bag salad often served in this kind of restaurant. It was spruced up with some peppers and sunflower seeds and the house dressing was quite nice too.
The wild hog burger — ok, ok, pork burger — came loaded with spiced apples, thick cut bacon, and heaps of brie cheese. We were impressed with how much was included – particularly the brie, which is not a cheap item. The toppings, and the pork and bacon patty they were heaped over, all sat in a bed of garlic aioli on a toasty bun. Butter lettuce accompanied the top half.
Wowie, was this a special burger. The patty was cooked just right and was juicy (for pork) and very flavourful. The brie, bacon, and apples all had their chance to shine and the garlic gave it a pleasant comfort food feel. There was a touch of fennel in there too just to add some interest. We loved it and would definitely order it again.
The burger came with kettle chips which were nice, but are obviously somewhat nondescript. We ordered a jalapeño aioli dip just for the purpose of dipping those chips. That added some zest (and even more fat… hmm…)
Our meals were both quite filling and so we opted to skip desserts this time.
Our bill, for the two burgers and beers was $60, including taxes and a modest tip. We consider this to be good value.
Bin 4 is great. We thought we were walking in to another boring box restaurant, but the service charmed, and the food was excellent and well priced. There are plenty more delicious-sounding items on the menu we’re looking forward to trying when we go back. Perhaps we’ll see you there? Recommended.