Last week I was in Chicago for a training program.  As I only had one evening free, I emailed a friend (friend of my friend, Libby) and asked her if she was free.  Yes she was free and excited to introduce me to somewhere fun in Chicago. 

After a few suggestions we decided on Bin 36 – a wine and cheese restaurant.  Two of my favorite things in the world. 

The restaurant come wine and cheese store is huge and reminded me of a big, cavernous cafeteria.  High ceilings, big open tables, a large bar in the center of the restaurant and a seating area around the cheese counter.  We opted for the large wine bar as that was where there were more people.  The restaurant was relatively quiet but I can imagine it being very busy on a Thursday through Saturday.

Cheese Bar


Our bartender came over immediately and greeted us with menus.  I was a little overwhelmed as I love cheese and they had about 100 to choose from.  We decided on a few snack bites to start while we thought about our cheese dinner.  In fact, we ordered all three snacks they offered….  Basket of Gougeres – House Made Parmesan Cheese Puffs, Truffle Honey.  These were incredible, soft, cheesy, fresh and I felt compelled to eat more than two or perhaps three, hmm I think it was four or five.  They were that good… and the truffle honey – amazing!  The House Marinated Olives – Thyme, Anise, Garlic & Orange Zest.  Tanguy and delicious with a great mix of green and black.  Finally, the Rosemary Roasted Mixed Nuts – Olive Oil & Sea Salt.  These were fabulous.  I think we polished off the whole dish.  All three, considering the low cost, were more than enough for two people.   

Marinated Olives – Thyme, Anise, Garlic & Orange Zest.


Basket of Gougeres – House Made Parmesan Cheese Puffs, Truffle Honey


Rosemary Roasted Mixed Nuts – Olive Oil & Sea Salt


To go with our tasty bites we ordered some great wines.  Diane went with some bubbles with the NV Rose, Varichon Et Clerc, Savoie and I tried the Chenin Blanc/Petite Chenin, Ken Forrester, Stellensboch, South Africa, which I found citrusy and fresh.  

NV Rose and Chenin Blanc with a side of Breadsticks


After our snacks, we were both quite full but felt we must have cheese.  Instead of going for a cheese plate we ordered two cheeses that looked particularly appealing to us.   Nancy’s Camembert, Old Chatham Shepherding Co., NY.  This was like heaven… incredibly creamy and light with a wonderful strong after taste.  We also enjoyed the L’Amuse Gouda, Holland – Imported and aged over 2 years.  I don’t think I have ever in my life tasted a gouda quite like this.  Rich and creamy in taste although the cheese was hard, with a hint of nut flavor and a little sweet.  Absolutely delectable.  Cheese for dinner – what could be better than that?

Nancy’s Camembert, Old Chatham Shepherding Co., NY and
L’Amuse Gouda, Holland – Imported and aged over 2 years


As I had an early meeting in the morning I knew I couldn’t drink another glass of wine.  I know, how sensible of me right?   I threw out the thought of having a half glass and our fabulously, friendly bartender said “of course you can have a half pour.”  Cheese and wine – I was a very happy person!

Me and Diane in cheese heaven


I would like a place like this in Boston.  It was so fun.  I have also heard it is a little bit of a celebrity haunt but sadly not on the night I dined there.  It was still a lovely evening with Diane and so much fun to be trying something new in a different city. 






BIN 36 Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato