Skip to content
Join our Newsletter

Review: Busy burger-lounge fare worth the wait

PAM GRANT DINING OUT BIN 4 BURGER LOUNGE Address: 180-911 Yates St. Tel: 250-590-4154 Hours: Open 11: 30 a.m. daily, until 11 p.m. Monday to Thursday, until midnight Friday and Saturday and until 10 p.m. Sunday.
Bin 4 Burger Lounge at 911 Yates St



Address: 180-911 Yates St.

Tel: 250-590-4154

Hours: Open 11: 30 a.m. daily, until 11 p.m. Monday to Thursday, until midnight Friday and Saturday and until 10 p.m. Sunday. Major credit cards and Interac accepted. Wheelchair accessible.

Rating 4

Iwould bet big money that Dan Blackmore, Sarah Russ and chef Michael Ringland haven't had much spare time since opening the doors to Bin 4 in November.

Indeed, wildly successful would be an understated way to describe Victoria's first gourmet burger lounge.

My initial visit was made the week they opened, something I normally avoid because the potential for error is higher in a new operation.

Given the anticipation about this spot, I knew it would be busy. That said, it was freezing, we were hungry and we were right there, so we took a deep breath and opened the doors.

The reception area was packed, so it took a minute before we could see what had become of the former Chinese-Canadian greasy spoon, now transformed into a slick and inviting space.

We eventually made it to the desk, accepting an offer of seats at the bar until a table was available.

Menus and complimentary spiced potato chips arrived in quick order. Ringland has crafted an enticing list of burgers made from heritage Angus beef, pork and chorizo, local chicken and seafood, along with a pair of vegetarian options, for $10 to $15.

We were about to order warmed Brie, offered with sliced apples, roasted garlic, red-onion jam and crostini, but our neighbours at the bar insisted we order what they had just eaten.

The crisp butter-lettuce wraps filled with tartare of albacore tuna and served with toasted coriander ponzu and cilantroflavoured yogurt are indeed something to get excited about.

Just as we finished, we were able to move to a booth and narrow down our burger choices. Jessica considered a spicy beef option warmed with blackening spice and topped with Ermite blue cheese.

In the end, though, she opted for the one named for the house, plowing through a juicy Angus beef patty on a brioche bun slathered with aioli, crowned with crisp bacon, butter lettuce, tomato and red onion and served with an ample side salad, though she noted she wouldn't bother with the house dressing again.

I had been considering Bin 63 - seared Albacore tuna, chipotle aioli, tapenade and cilantro salad - but given our appetizer, chose chicken, which was ever so slightly dry, but slathered with delicious red-onion jam, Brie, bacon and roasted garlic aioli and served with excellent Kennebec fries.

We didn't really need dessert and they needed the table so we left, with plans to return.

Though our appetizer had arrived in minutes, our burgers took too long at nearly 40 minutes, something we wrote off to first week syndrome.

The only other downside was the constant interruptions to ask how everything was - a couple of times is fine, but eight is overkill - and the repeated attempts to clear Jessica's plate, which still had a few bites of salad left, while I was only halfway through my meal.

Never clear plates until everyone at the table has finished eating.

On my next visit, I was offered a seat at the bar but declined it. Unless you get one on the side directly facing the kitchen, you have to deal with people behind you clamouring to pay bills, which previous experience told me was irritating.

I waited for a table, listening to occupants at an adjacent table - who had thoughtfully brought their own coffees - complaining that most of the menu was unsuitable for vegetarians. It reminded me of why I'm glad to be out of the restaurant business.

Once seated, I was thinking of warmed Brie again, but decided I couldn't finish that and a burger.

My cousin Maureen had extolled the virtues of the onion rings, so these won the day - crisp, crusted with panko bread crumbs, sprinkled with Parmigiana, dipped in garlic mayonnaise and worth every single calorie.

My ground-lamb burger again took more than half an hour to arrive, but was spectacular, garnished with fresh mint pistou, eggplant and tomato relish and Brie (a substitution I requested).

Three months into its life, Bin 4 is still busy.

If you are on the verge of fainting from hunger, leave your visit for another time, since food can take a while to arrive. But in my experience, it's worth the wait.

The owners' stated aim is to create a trendy but unpretentious environment, and they have nailed that. Add friendly service, good looking plates loaded with quality ingredients and affordable drinks and you have a hit.

About $25 for two courses and a non-alcoholic beverage, exclusive of tax and tip. Visit after 9 p.m. and all burgers are half price with the purchase of a beverage.


Rating 1 Below bad

Rating 2 Below average

Rating 3 Average

Rating 4 Above average

Rating 5 Excellent