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Dino, Dean Gold and Kay Zimmerman's Italian Enoteca in Cleveland Park with Beverage Director Fabian Malone - Closed

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Here is a press release describing Dino which will open in July in the old Yanyu space. Presently there are signs in the window advertising that they're hiring for all positions.

Dino Opens Its Doors in July 2005 Bringing Rustic Italian Fare to Cleveland Park

Washington, D.C., (June 7, 2005) - Artisan cheeses, flights of estate bottled olive oils, fresh local produce, never frozen seafood, natural meats and an impressive Italian wine and spirits list are just of a few of the highlights owner Dean Gold will be showcasing when he opens Dino at 3435 Connecticut Avenue, NW, in July. Gold's intensive food experience on both coasts with Whole Foods Market, plus the passion he and his wife Kay Zimmerman share for Venice and Montaclino, after a decade of extensive travel in Southern Tuscany, are part of the motivation behind the new restaurant. Surviving a heart attack and extensive bypass surgery in 2002, to fulfill his life long dream of opening a great restaurant is yet another.

"Dino is going to be reminiscent of a wine bar or casual restaurant in Venice or Montalcino, somewhere between a wine-based osteria and a family-run trattoria offering good, rustic food ranging in price from $1.75 to $18. Our pricing will be moderate to make Dino equally appropriate for dinner or just an evening snack with wine," say Dean Gold.

CIA graduate Johnny Neilsen, who has worked in notable restaurant kitchens including Aria, The Mark/Andale, Palena, as well as Tribecca Grill in New York City, will lead the kitchen as the executive chef. His menu will reflect simple Italian foods including lots of crostini and cicchetti (Venetian snacks), a nice assortment of pasta, grilled and rotisserie meats and fresh seafood. General Manager Michael De Angelis, with over 15 years of experience at convivial restaurants such as Antonia's in Key West, FL and Morton's The Steakhouse, has been hired to establish and maintain a fun and casual service style at Dino.

The light-filled new interior is warm and inviting with seating for 104 guests. Rich copper and jewel tones are incorporated throughout including the fabrics used at seven-seat bar and romantic dining alcove complete with a rustic tile roof. Venetian lighting, stained concrete and bamboo floors and original works of art from Italy authenticate the experience thanks to the combined efforts of contractor Alberto Posse, designer Pamela Butler Stone of Create Space, concrete artist Steve Eyler of Eyecon and Dean Gold. Upstairs guests will find additional seating and a private dining room that can seat two tables of 10 or one large table of 14.

"Much of the art utilized throughout Dino is from our personal collection including the silk pieces by Lidia Barilla, canal scenes by Nicola Tenderini and my mother's abstracts found on the second floor," explains Gold.

Gold wants Dino to be recognized as a place to enjoy great wines at very reasonable prices. The basic pricing policy will be retail plus $10 for readily available wines. A focus list of 120 wines under $60 will be presented in an imaginative fashion and a reserve list of 300 wines will also be available.

Dino's bar will feature only artisan-made spirits for classic cocktails, as well as newer concoctions such as a pickle martini of Kendrick's cucumber gin, Quady Vya vermouth and pickled caper berries. Patrons can indulge with single barrel scotches and unblended cognac not found elsewhere.

Dino's hours of operation are: Monday, Wednesday thru Sunday:
5 p.m.-10:30 p.m..; closed Tuesdays. For more information, please call (202) 686-2966.

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The basic pricing policy will be retail plus $10 for readily available wines.
:lol:

(Although the cynic in me says to wait and see how many wines this applies to.)

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Hmmm, Tallula and Evening Star already do that policy of wine pricing, and its the whole list, not a certain selection of wines.

Did not know that. Thumbs up to those two joints for their reasonable pricing policies.

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newer concoctions such as a pickle martini of Kendrick's cucumber gin, Quady Vya vermouth and pickled caper berries

Kendrick's? :lol:

Kaven't keard of it.

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You know, my original post had a note saying "the typos are theirs not mine" but instead, I decided to fix the headline myself (It versus Its) and be nice.

Then you have the Kendricks! Also not my fault. :lol:

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newer concoctions such as a pickle martini of Kendrick's cucumber gin, Quady Vya vermouth and pickled caper berries

Doesn't a certain DR.com favorite right up the street already do something very similar to this? :lol:

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Perhaps this question can be directed to their publicist, Heather Freeman.

And so it was, and the response from Dean via Heather was that the reserve list will not follow this policy, but the main wine list will.

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To add....

Received an e-mail from the eponymous Dean that said they are opening July 6.

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To add....

Received an e-mail from the eponymous Dean that said they are opening July 6.

Hi all

I just found out about your board recently, and hope to be an active participant once I get time to breathe. However, I would love to address any questions you might have about the restaurant.

As to the main question at hand, our wine pricing, here is our policy. For any current vintage wine available from the distributor, we will charge retail plus $10.00 a bottle. Once we start aging wines for our reserve list, we will charge to reflect the cost of holding the wine well past the time its available from the distributor. So far, with over 200 wines on our reserve list, the only exception to the $10.00 rule is Dal Forno Romano Valpolicella. I have 6 bottles of this wine and it is no longer available from the distriubtor (and has not been since September of last year). Everything else I have so far is retail plus $10.00.

While we open July 6, the reserve list will roll out July 13. We want to have time to get things organized before rolling out the first 200 selection or so on the reserve list. Our "everyday" list will consist of 95 wines so you won't have to go thirsty!

Hope this clears up the question.

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Kendrick's? :lol:

Kaven't keard of it.

I kan honestly say that spelling and proofreading have never been my strong points!

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Doesn't a certain DR.com favorite right up the street already do something very similar to this?  unsure.gif

Hey... I have no problem being accused of theft! As a lover of that great mathematician and philosoper, Tom Leher, I live by the quote that "to steal from one is plagerism, to steal from many is research!"

However, honesty among theives dictates that credit be given where it is due. My love of Hendricks Gin and the idea of the Caperberry Martini came from my research at Esca a few years back. Antonio had this new gin and I needed a martini and we had this plate of raw fish (pink snapper with pink salt as I recall) with a caperberry garnish....

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It was a long day. Cooking dinner is not going to happen.

All I really want to do is sit, have a glass or two of wine, a few small plates, maybe some cheese or prosciutto. If it wasn't Tuesday, the day they are closed, I would head down to Dino.

I had the pleasure of getting a sneak preview this weekend and was very pleased with what I found. The menu has half a dozen primi and secondi plates (forgive my Italian if I spelled that wrong) but the highlights for me were the antipasti and cichetti (small snacks). The meat and cheese plate had a nice assortment of four or five meats, some cheese and a slice of fritatta. Our scamorza (smoked, melted mozzarella) was excellent and the saltimboca (Venetian for meatballs) were as good as your nona's.

I am looking forward to a cool rainy day, or this winter, when a warm plate of their lasagnette will hit the spot. If this were a more pretentious restaurant they might call it deconstructed lasagna, but fortunately they are as down to earth as possible. It is layers of excellent pasta, creamy meat sauce and melted cheese floating in between.

Dessert. We had a hard time choosing which one to try so we went for almost the whole menu. My personal favorite, and it was all I wanted during recess on this hot, muggy day, is vanilla ice cream topped with aged balsamic vinegar. Brilliant, just brilliant. Other highlights included the pine nut, thyme and honey tart and the fresh fruit macerated in something wonderful (at this point we were beyond taking notes and just enjoyed ourselves). On my next visit I cannot wait to try the nutella and marscapone pannini.

On to the wine list. You oenophiles will have to chime in on whether you like it or not. For a complete wine novice who relies on others to choose for her the wine list is a dream. It is broken up into sections describing each variety of wine. Within each section there is a selection or two available by the glass. (Here's my favorite part.) The glasses are available in 3 or 8 oz. pours or by the bottle. We were able to sample a number of different wines without running up a ridiculous bill or leaving completely intoxicated.

Justin (the maitre 'd) and Dean (the owner) are looking forward to our taking over the bar for a happy hour in the next few weeks. When you stop in mention that you a Rockwellian. A lot of work and research (including a trip over to Italy that sounded divine) went into the menu and they are eager to share their work, especially with those who will appreciate it.

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It was a long day.  Cooking dinner is not going to happen.

All I really want to do is sit, have a glass or two of wine, a few small plates, maybe some cheese or prosciutto.  If it wasn't Tuesday, the day they are closed, I would head down to Dino.

I had the pleasure of getting a sneak preview this weekend and was very pleased with what I found.  The menu has half a dozen primi and secondi plates (forgive my Italian if I spelled that wrong) but the highlights for me were the antipasti and cichetti (small snacks).  The meat and cheese plate had a nice assortment of four or five meats, some cheese and a slice of fritatta.  Our scamorza (smoked, melted mozzarella) was excellent and the saltimboca (Venetian for meatballs) were as good as your nona's.

I am looking forward to a cool rainy day, or this winter, when a warm plate of their lasagnette will hit the spot.  If this were a more pretentious restaurant they might call it deconstructed lasagna, but fortunately they are as down to earth as possible.  It is layers of excellent pasta, creamy meat sauce and melted cheese floating in between.

Dessert.  We had a hard time choosing which one to try so we went for almost the whole menu.  My personal favorite, and it was all I wanted during recess today on this hot, muggy day, is vanilla ice cream topped with aged balsamic vinegar.  Brilliant, just brilliant.  Other highlights included the pine nut, thyme and honey tart and the fresh fruit macerated in something wonderful (at this point we were beyond taking notes and just enjoyed ourselves).  On my next visit I cannot wait to try the nutella and marscapone pannini.

On to the wine list.  You oenophiles will have to chime in on whether you like it or not.  For a complete wine novice who relies on others to choose for her the wine list is a dream.  It is broken up into sections describing each variety of wine.  Within each section there is a selection or two available by the glass.  (Here's my favorite part.)  The glasses are available in 3 or 8 oz. pours or by the bottle.  We were able to sample a number of different wines without running up a ridiculous bill or leaving completely intoxicated. 

Justin (one of the managers) and Dean (the owner) are looking forward to our taking over the bar for a happy hour in the next few weeks. When you stop in mention that you a Rockwellian. A lot of work and research (including a trip over to Italy that sounded divine) went into the menu and they are eager to share their work, especially with those who will appreciate it.

Thanks for the "homework." This place sounds promising and it is Metro accessible. Edited by Barbara

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$18 is the maximum price on the menu?! I'm looking forward to some reasonably priced Italian food in the neighborhood besides 2Amys -- and within walking distance! I just hope they can deliver on the inventive menu. (Fingers crossed)

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I received an email from them this evening offering a one-time discount of $7 per person off a check of $25 per person before the discount is applied. Seems kinda complicated when they could have easily just said "Hey, Friends! Here's a 28% Off Coupon!" :P

In all seriousness it's a nice "get to know us" offer and I look forward to saying hello to them, particularly after hillvalley's experience.

Edited by CrescentFresh

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We were able to sample a number of different wines without running up a ridiculous bill or leaving completely intoxicated. 

Of course it's not quite a party unless one or the other happens, though, right? :P

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Yes, there is a bar. I didn't take a close look but I think there are about half a dozen seats. Along the opposite wall are your classic bar tall tables and chairs.

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A friend and I sat at Dino's nice little bar last night to catch up - I've been out of town for most of the last two weeks. The bar or its nearby cafe tables are very pleasant places to chat, drink wine and share a few bites to eat.

For some reason, I walked in feeling skeptical. Might have had something to do with that awful press release! :P I was worried that Dino might be Sorriso East, I guess.

But we had a really nice time and enjoyed most of the food we sampled. The service was very friendly (note: my companion knew some of the people there so I can't speak truly objectively on that front). By the end of the night, I think we met 90% of the staff. It seems like a good bunch.

We tried the salsa asiago from the crostini menu which, if memory serves (no description on the web site), included grana, olive oil and asiago. Loved this. The saltimbocca were great too - loosely packed braised meatballs topped with finely chopped fresh tomato.

I was less enamored of our next courses, Pinci al Cinghiale (we opted for the small portion at $7; it was still pretty big IMO) which is pasta with a "traditional Tuscan condiment of wild boar with onions and herbs," and the aforementioned lasagnette. I found the pinci oddly bland and watery, as if the pasta hadn't been properly drained before being dressed with the condiment. The lasagnette was just too rich for me (and I like rich foods).

My companion liked, but didn't love, both dishes so take my comments with a grain of salt. As ya'll are fond of saying "your mileage may vary."

We ordered three cheeses, which were tasty, but went unfinished due to the amount of food consumed (I'd had a snack prior to going to Dino :wub: ). Alas, the server only could point out "gorgonzola...ricotta...pecorino." No specifics were known which kind of sucked.

It's important to note that Dino's liquor license requires the restaurant to stop serving by 11 pm for the time being. The kitchen closes at that point too so plan accordingly.

Bottom line: I'm glad to have another CP place to return to and perhaps frequent, particularly since the wonderful Jeff has departed Palena. If anything, I fear that Dino will be too crowded to accommodate drop-ins before too long!

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Using my inaugural post on DR.com to rave about this special little place, which we visited on opening night, Wednesday 7/6. Had a wonderful time.

As others have mentioned, the snacks and light plates really excel, and you can make a meal of as many or as few as you want. One thing they offer that I've never seen before is a list of maybe 8 crostini, and you can buy them by the piece ($1.25? $1.75?) or 5 for $8. Looking forward to trying most of those.

I may just sit there next time alternating between bites of the cheese plate and the salumi plate, sampling $3 portions of delightful wines. Certainly the Sangiovese rosado was delicious, and on my own I never would have chosen it, having an anti-rose bias that I don't think is mine alone.

The limoncello tiramisu is one of those variations on a classic that really works. And the Nutella panini is exactly like it sounds: grilled bread smeared with delicious, rich, melty Nutella. Mmmmmm.

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Using my inaugural post on DR.com to rave about this special little place, which we visited on opening night, Wednesday 7/6. Had a wonderful time.

As others have mentioned, the snacks and light plates really excel, and you can make a meal of as many or as few as you want. One thing they offer that I've never seen before is a list of maybe 8 crostini, and you can buy them by the piece ($1.25? $1.75?) or 5 for $8. Looking forward to trying most of those.

I may just sit there next time alternating between bites of the cheese plate and the salumi plate, sampling $3 portions of delightful wines. Certainly the Sangiovese rosado was delicious, and on my own I never would have chosen it, having an anti-rose bias that I don't think is mine alone.

The limoncello tiramisu is one of those variations on a classic that really works. And the Nutella panini is exactly like it sounds: grilled bread smeared with delicious, rich, melty Nutella. Mmmmmm.

Jael:

Welcome to DonRockwell.com. Dino's is on my short list of new places to try.

Edited by Jacques Gastreaux

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My friend and I ended up going to Dino's for dinner last night and arrived to a packed house around 7:30p or so. Upon entering I recognized the host (ex Ray's) and was greeted with, "Aren't you a friend of JG's?" We were told that there was a wait so we hung out at the bar until our table was ready. Since we were both pretty hungry we started with a small salumi e formaggi plate, the affettati misti. The dish comes with a slice of frittata and slices of mortadella, salami, and provolone cheese.

Upon receiving our salumi plate we were informed that they had a table for us, so off we went to the upstairs section. While this area does not have the large windows of the main level it is an enjoyable space to have a meal. We were seated in a booth that had a very wide table, which would provide a great place to sit with a small group and share plates. Ok, back to the food...The salumi plate was a tasty way to start the meal and I enjoyed a glass of Iron Horse "Rosato of Sangiovese".

After that we ordered a couple of the Crostino alla Dino, the Saltimbocca (literally means "jump in your mouth"), and the Sarde in Saor. The crostino was delicious, and it is a crispy slice of bread topped with Point Reyes Blue Cheese and a slice of Ortiz anchovy. I love this cheese so I enjoyed this, but thought the anchovy flavor was lost. The saltimbocca was very tasty and the fresh parsley in the chopped tomatoes gave it a wonderful freshness. The Sarde in Soar is a cold marinated panfried sardine with a topping of slow cooked onions and raisins, an Italian version of sweet and sour (agrodolce).

We decided to move onto the primi portion of the menu and ordered a small portion of the Pinci all'Aglione and Pinci al Cinghiale (I missed JG's posts and was asked about it when we were served biggrin.gif ). I forgot to ask where they source from, but it did not seem like regular piggy to me. Anyway, both dishes had perfectly cooked pasta and I really enjoyed the first pasta dish. This was pasta with chopped heirloom tomatoes and roast garlic. I personally would have enjoyed more roasted garlic, but that is just me.

We were enjoying our meal we decided to work our way to the secondi portion of the menu. Since we had alreay eaten quite a bit we split an order of the Branzino, a grilled seabass served with really good olive oil (words from the web site) and lemon. This was easily the best dish of the night in our opinion. The fish was perfectly cooked with a crisp skin surrounding the tender white flesh. We were told that they have been getting negative comments from diners on this dish because the fish is served whole. The Suavia (Garganega, Trebbiano di Soave) Soave, Veneto 2003 was recommended to have with the fish and it went very well.

For our next course we moved onto a small cheese plate, point reyes blue, an alsatian goat, and some taleggio. The cheeses were served with small portions of honey, blackberry mostarda, and some preserved(?) grapefruit. I do not remember what wine I was served with this course, but it was good.

To end the meal we shared a Panini al Nutella e Mascarpone, which as described in the post above, is simple and delicious. The panini is served with a small scoop of hazelnut gelato. We also shared the Crostata di Pignoli e Miele di Montalcino, which is a pine nut, thyme and honey tart. They were both very good and while I really enjoy nutella, the tart was definitely my favorite.

As can been seen on their web site, the wine list is pretty extensive and broken up into user friendly groups. One of my favorite group names is Rustic: Earthy, Funky, Old School. I also like the fact that you can order small or large portions of various items on the menu and the crostini can be ordered individually and mixed and matched.

During the meal Dean was roaming the dining room asking how things were and answering questions on wine, cheese, and various other subjects. While I did not speak to him for very long I could see (hear) that he is very passionate about food. It was a wonderful dinner and I will certainly return.

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We had a lovely, leisurely dinner at Dino's tonight. What a great addition to the neighborhood--and a totally different note from the other Italian places, 2 Amy's and Palena. Dino's isn't going to compete with them--it is going to complement them nicely.

We started with the Polipo alla Griglia (baby octopus) and the Prosciutto Crudo. OMG--the octupus was simply amazing. Perfection on a plate and I used half of my bread to wipe up the sauce it was served in. The prosciutto was damned good too.

We had the Iron Horse "Rosato of Sangiovese" to start. Very nice for a hot day.

Then we tried the Saltimbocca, Calamari Fritti and the Quaglia alla Griglia. I will note that Mr. BLB does not usually like squid and was fighting me for pieces of the calamari.

The saltimbocca did nothing for me but he liked it. The quail smelled amazing--I love it when food smells as good as it tastes. Lovely, lovely, lovely food.

I lost tracks of the wines at this point--I have them written down but I have no idea what went with what course by now... Justin, formerly of Ray's and Palena, took impeccable care of us and matched the wines just right. Mr. BLB isn't much for wine usually but he was quaffing away too. I love the little glasses and the pricing~!

We then tried the small plates of the Pinci al Cinghiale (wild boar) and Bigoi in Salsa (anchovy). Very nice--the boar had great flavor. I thought the bigoi was a little heavy on the onions or perhaps they just needed to be chopped smaller but I really enjoyed both.

Dessert-- I had the Gelato Affogatto and Mr. BLB had the panna cotta. (I am not a nutella fan and wish there was more chocolate on the menu.... unsure.gif That is my only complaint!) The gelato was lovely but I thought the panna cotta wasn't sweet enough. Now I suspect in traditional Venetian dining, chocolate isn't big and really sweet desserts aren't the norm but I'm throughly Americanized. I admit it...

Service was very nice, especially given that I don't think they expected to be 100% full on day 3!

Dean and his wife (?) were stopping at tables to say hello and welcome people. Justin totally made us feel at home and guided our menu choices with aplomb.

We'll be back soon!

Jennifer

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