The much-hyped Bink’s Midtown, which opened its doors last year, combines two of the more popular attitudes in foodie-ism right now. One, it has a menu focused on fresh, local produce. (Think farmers market gourmet.) Two, it has a cool-but-laid back ambiance that’s perfect for dropping in with jeans or dressed up with a date.
Upon first look, the restaurant’s location can be easy to pass up. Expanded from an old house and situated directly along a row of homes on Osborn Road, the quaint, dimly lit farm-inspired locale is a welcome upscale addition to the Phoenix neighborhood. Surrounded by drop-in tortas and taco shops, Bink’s provides a bit of flair that was previously missing.
The location is the third in chef Kevin Binkley’s lineup of restaurants, which also includes Binkley’s Restaurant and Cafe Bink, both in Carefree. But as of right now, Bink’s Midtown is the star, and I was dying to check it out.
We arrived on a Thursday night to a half-full restaurant. Most diners chose to enjoy the absolutely perfect outdoor weather, which only added to the homey ambiance.
We were greeted by our enthusiastic and informative server who proudly proclaimed Bink’s mission of highlighting fresh, seasonal, local produce. As a veggie fiend, I was happy to embrace the concept. My dining partner, a carnivore to the core, scoffed at the cold and hot vegetable menus, but agreed to take some small nibbles.
I ordered up the asparagus veggie starter, which highlighted one of my favorite vegetables with a medley of capers, various olives and croutons. I’ve been known to eat a whole bunch of asparagus—No seriously, a literal bunch—so I consider myself the expert on this veg. Perfectly cooked and still crisp, the cold plate allowed the asparagus to sing and didn’t overpower the flavor with glazes or sauces.
Broccoli was next on the list. The hot dish was served up in a cast iron dish and topped with fresh burrata that almost has a dessert-like milkiness to it.
But all veggies, though tasty, played second fiddle to a green chile pork papusa that was savory, salty heaven. Topped with salsa verde, sour Granny Smith apples and radishes, the crispy, crunchiness of the fruit and veggies worked perfectly with the southwestern-style pancake. This appetizer is worth the trip to Bink’s alone.
From here, the rest of our trip was a slight letdown. Major flaws in our entrees soiled our outlook on the restaurant’s main course. Perhaps we went on an off night, because the scallops I ordered weren’t on point with the Bink’s hype.
Served on a bed of delicious lemony quinoa, my four scallops came grilled rather than the typical seared. Scallops are of course fragile and easy to mess up, but the grill marks on the scallops made them incredibly bitter. Even the lemony sweetness of the quinoa couldn’t cut through the sharp flavor of the scallops. At $30 for a little quinoa and four scallops, I was a little disappointed.
Hoping my dining partner’s flat iron with fingerling potatoes, crispy onions and mushroom vinaigrette could redeem Bink’s, I came away with another letdown. Although everything about the plate was pretty and technically “correct,” it suffered from a lack of seasoning. You expect a vinaigrette to be vivid, but I was left wanting more acidity to the sauce.
We followed everything with the chocolate puddin’ cake, because chocolate cake never disappoints. A combination of warm cakey goodness topped with marshmallow fluff and toasted graham cracker crumbs, it was an adult s’more in a mason jar. It wasn’t much more exciting than that, but honestly, there’s nothing wrong with a s’more to begin with. Why fix what ain’t broken?
If you’re considering Bink’s, it’s a diet-safe happy hour destination. Grab a drink and a few veggie appetizers, but skip the entrees—at least the ones on the menu this season.
2320 E. Osborn Rd. Phoenix