Food & Drink » Happy Hour Hound

Martinis and freebies at Bin 555

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On the basis of its happy hour, Bin 555 isn't in danger of becoming a Mixology Mecca any time soon — those who have cloyed of the craft cocktail juggernaut may now exhale. Monday through Friday from 5-7, $5 will get you a basic drink made from Absolut Vodka, Tanqueray Gin, Bacardi Silver Rum, Dewar's White Label Scotch, or Sauza Hornitos Tequila. Nothing wrong with settling in for a round of very professionally made Tanqueray martinis. (A tequila sour, made to my proportions, wasn't as satisfying to me as the ones I make for myself, but it took me a while to arrive at what I like, so I won't complain seriously. ) There is also a list of perfectly decent wines, from chardonnay to malbec, for $5 a glass or a flight of three, 2-ounce pours. My selection of three reds all tasted as though the bottles had been open a while, but it was clear that they had been chosen to go with the snacks menu.

Which is the advantage of a chef-driven restaurant. Jason Dady is now spending most of his time at the Bin, there's a new opening to the kitchen, and I suggest sitting at the counter that gives you a window to the action. The day I was there, Dady was carving out and dispensing precious bits of the last of a haunch of Iberico ham, but even if such luxe leftovers aren't on offer, Indian-spiced chickpeas are a fabulous freebie, the marinated olive selection with Marcona almonds is great, and there are sea salt fries with a garlic aioli, dates wrapped in serrano ham, naan-style flatbreads, and irresistible, mini grilled cheese sandwiches with chevre and a daily chef's jam. I'd love one day to see a tomato version to call to mind the classic sandwich and soup combo.

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