A few weeks ago, Tami and I stumbled upon a cool little place in town called Bin 152. A wine bar, situated at 152 King Street. But it's more than a wine bar. It's a cheese bar. A charcuterie and cured meat heaven. It's also an art/antique gallery. It's also lots more than that. It's Fanny's (the French half) and Patrick's (the American half), the owners. It's a place where we know we can pop in any time of the week, afternoon or after dinner and have good company, good libations and food. Seriously love those guys and hanging out there.
For this round of French Word A Week, I thought it'be nice to tag along a little interview I did with Fanny and Patrick. We met one very sunny day at their establishment and they patiently played the game of a few portrait shots as well as plating some charcuterie and cheese for a beauty shot. So yes, today you get to learn two more French words.
If you ever travel to France, beside "glace a la vanille", you'd better know how to pronounce "Fromage" (cheese) and "saucisson"! (cured dry sausage) (click on the words to hear)
The fromage and charcuterie lists are Bin 152 are among the best I have seen around. I don't do restaurant reviews here because my heart always beats too passionately when it comes to people and food but Fanny and Patrick's concept is too good to keep secret (although they are such a gem that we are a handful of locals who are torn about singing their praises out loud or keeping them all to ourselves!).
The beverage list comprises wines from France, Italy, Spain, Australia, beers (drawing a blank here on the various ones), as well as some non-alcoholic options. Prices range from $7 to $16 for glasses and bottles start under $30. The food is not to be missed either. No matter what you order, every item is $7 from the creamy, hard, aged, stinky, cow or goat cheese to chorizo, duck mousse, saucisson, or cured bresaola (and that's not the end of it!). Everything is served on wooden cutting boards with just a couple of knives and plenty of fresh baguette. Simple, non pretentious and easy going.
Alright, so clearly I love the place but I also love those guys. Fanny is from Nice originally and traveled to many countries before landing in the US and meeting Patrick who was born in New Jersey but grew up in Colorado. After opening the Charleston branch of a bakery in NYC, Patrick and Fanny decided to venture on their own and improve on the wine bar concept. Hope you enjoy the little interview!
Helene: How did you come up with the concept of Bin 152? How do you select the wines and the cheese/charcuterie that go on the menu?
Fanny: Patrick had a wine bar in San Francisco of which we used the basic model, but then we expanded the cheese and charcuterie menu and included the antique furniture twist. So basically we improved upon an existing model that was and is still successful in SF.
Helene: What has been the most challenging part of opening Bin 152 so far?
Fanny: The biggest challenge has been the long hours. Other than that it's been fabulous.
Helene: Fanny, what's your favorite word in the English language? Patrick, what is your favorite word in the French language? The toughest to pronounce (for each)?
Fanny's favorite: rhythm and toughest to pronounce: any word that ends in a "th"
Patrick's favorite: bisous (kisses)(!) and toughest to pronounce "emporter".
Helene: At home, do you guys share your cooking/baking time?
Fanny: We do. But I mostly cook and Patrick bakes.
Helen: What would be your idea of the perfect feast? (name dishes, place, people, whatever comes to mind)
Fanny: My grandmother's cooking -- cassoulet, paella, au feu de bois; and Patrick's pizza with mushrooms, prosciutto, fresh mozzarella, truffle oil and his special crust.
Patrick: I usually like the simple things done really well. I like roasted chicken with herbes de provence, a great pasta bolognese, any fresh fish cooked perfectly, I love fried zucchini flowers and anything my lovely wife cooks -- she's an awesome cook.
Mention food and feasts and we all start to sound poetic, don't we?
Bin 152 is located 152 King St in Charleston, SC (Tel.843.577.7359). As Fanny mentioned, they do keep long hours and we are selfishly happy for that: they are open Monday through Friday from 4pm to 2am, Saturdays from 4pm to midnight and closed Sundays. Their website should be up in the next few weeks.