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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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Again, at the risk of self-promotion. New cocktails on the way at the bar. Have a complete chemistry set of bitters and tinctures brewing at the moment...

Soon....

Cheers,

Scott

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After an adverse reaction to something I ate earlier, I wasn't in much appetite for a previously-scheduled early dinner at Dino. That said, the puntarelle salad on the menu right now more than hit the spot. Comically long and thin greens with a mild earthy-bitter flavor and some chew, dressed perfectly with an anchovy vinaigrette. Yum.

Hope you're feeling better Jakey!

I am. Mostly.

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Dino is closed today due to the snow. We are planning to open tomorrow at 5:30.

Stay safe & warm! I recommend Rowan Creek Burbon for the latter. May not help with the former if you are going out and about! :angry:

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Started off with an appetizer of Topinambur ($8), jerusalem artichokes pan roasted with walnuts & salt.

I had this the other night and loved it. Also (without checking menu for details) had pasta with pork and veal sausage. Dessert was a just-right slab of chocolate/hazelnut gelato.

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Dino is closed today due to the snow. We are planning to open tomorrow at 5:30.

Stay safe & warm! I recommend Rowan Creek Burbon for the latter. May not help with the former if you are going out and about! :angry:

Or Hot Cocoa with Saffron King Black Cardamom Tincture and Neisson Rhum Agricole Eleve' Sous Bois with a grate of nutmeg and whipped cream...

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We had a friend in town staying at the Marriott Wardman Park (about a mile from Dino's) so figured it was time to try this place that I have had three different folks recommend to me. Definitely made the right decision.

Used Open Table to make reservation which kept me from having to call back 3 times to change the number of people (wasn't sure about babysitter availability for some until that afternoon).

We had walked by this a month ago and were interested based on the menu displayed in the window. I lucked out with parking right by the door, our friends had to park two blocks away. There were 5 of us, friends from college and this was the first time we were all together for about 15 years. Comfortable sitting and nice conversation level, though I can see this getting very loud on busier nights. (We went on a monday night)

Seems that Sunday and Monday nights are 33% off bottles of wine costing $50 or more so we took some time to read the wine list and pick a bottle out for our table. A request for white, and another for not to sweet, and one for not to dry lead us to the 2001 Zilliken "Kabinet" Riesling Tedesco which we were very pleased with.

We all took advantage of the Restaurant Week special (All January long) 3 courses for $35.10 including an anti-pasti, entree, dessert, and moscato / grappa / lemonchello. We did a round of plate passing for the anti-past and entree courses and had a great time. The waiter knew his stuff and was able to answer questions and make suggestions, and one of the owners stopped by before dessert to see how we were doing.

Antipasti

I had the Pio Tosini 500 Giorni Prosciutto di Parma Crudo Prosciutto ~ made in the old fashioned manner by in the small Tosini family prosciuttificio ~ they age these hand salted gems a full 500 days ~ setting the world of prosciutto back 100 years! ~ house pickle

WOW - this was amazingly wonderful thin slices of pig perfection. I'm glad this was my choice since it was my favorite and I got to finish it. The pickle was okay, not great.

Antipasti di Cinghiale Wild Boar ~ wild boar prosciutto ~ wild boar sausage ~ house-made wild boar pate ~ duck liver crostini ~ ginger mostarda

the pate was good, crostini was okay, but the wild boar proscciutto was wonderful and the wild boar sausage was AMAZING

Polenta ai Tre Formaggi con Funghi Soft 3 Cheese Polenta ~ white Friuli polenta with Asiago, Fontal & Gorgonzola ~ topped with balsamico roasted mushrooms

I'm not a big Polenta fan but this was quite good - very smooth.

Burrata Bufala Cheese ~ air freighted from Puglia, Sundays & Thursdays ~ fresh mozzarella outside ~ fresh curds & cream inside ~ olive tapenade ~ red pepper tapenade ~ oven roasted tomato ~ olio & basil

Yummy

Pappardelle ai Funghi (half order) Wild Mushroom ~ a “sauceless” condimento: chanterelle, black trumpet & shiitake mushrooms, garlic, sage & olio ~ ribbon pasta

This was good and I might have this as an entre some time in the future

Entrees

Two of us had the Lasagnette al Ragu Free Form Lasagna ~ a very non-traditional, over-the-top version ~ fonduta ~ crispy bacon ~ rich pork & veal puree ~ grana cheese ~ house-made pasta sheets

This was amazingly yummy, especially when you came across a bacon bit.

Maialino Milk Fed Young Pig ~ heritage breed Yorkshire pig raised on a small farm in Canada ~ slow cooked in duck fat & crisped ~ rosemary, allspice & pear scented jus ~ house-made ginger pear mostarda ~ braised young broccoli greens

Oh so tender and delicious

Pappardelle al Cinghiale Wild Boar Ragu ~ a light stew of cubes of wild boar ~ a touch of pork belly ~ crushed tomato, onions, golden raisins, currents, celery, carrots, red wine, garlic, herbs & spices ~ grana cheese ~ house-made ribbon pasta

The pasta was wonderful - the dish was a bit heavy for me but Pooch loved it (which is good since it was his order)

Arrosto di Zucca Roasted Stuffed Squash ~ local organic squash stuffed with farro “risotto”, studded with barberries {similar to sour currents} cavalo nero, wild mushrooms & grana cheese ~ garlicky Tuscan 4 bean & farro stew ~ sauteed pea shoots

I'm not a squash fan but this was yummy, no 'sqeeky'ness' that I usually expect from squash.

no one had the Capesante “Elephant’s Trunk” Scallops - pan seared ~ Aperol, white wine butter ~ onion infused mashed potatoes, so that is on my list for next time.

Dessert:

Pooch enjoyed cheese with

Guffanti Eborinato di Pecora con Miele {sheep ~ blue} Val Pusteria Beware of this cheese!! Cave aged, using only wild blue molds from the Alpine valley of Valpusteria: more complex & stronger than others of its type. Served with honey to tame its fire

Guffanti Branzi {cow} Lombardia Mountain style cheese with fine eyes and a slightly funky smell leading to a creamy, earthy flavor

he enjoyed them both

Suzi refused to share her Mela al Forno Heyser’s Farm Spencerville red apple ~ baked with currents, brown sugar & butter ~ amaretti crumb, but it looked quite good.

K and I both had the Torte di Ciccolato dense chocolate cake ~ whipped cream - Very good without being overpoweringly rich

T had Budino di Pane warm bread pudding ~ vanilla gelato ~ whipped cream

After dinner Drinks:

Grappa is an unaged distillate of grape skins left over after wine making. It is powerful and not unlike rocket fuel! - we had one and not to our taste but was fun to try

I enjoyed a Limoncello and a cup of coffee

Pooch had a Moscato and enjoyed it .

Overall a wonderful meal and a great time re-connecting with friends.

Dino's is good for either a romantic dinner or a group of friends (though leave the kids at home)

Dinner for two with a bottle of wine and tip was $150

Glad I gave it a try - will recommend to others.

Star & Pooch

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Unfortunately had a bad experience at Dino sunday night, which left me bothered b/c I was in the mood for that lasagna (ended up renting a zipcar and having a solid dinner at masa 14). I arrived at 8:50pm and waited by the door for exactly 4 minutes without being acknowledged. At that point, my wife showed up and we were now ignored for another 4 minutes (exactly). We walked out after 9 minutes without being acknowledged at all. I don't want to make a big deal out of it, but I wanted to bring this up so you can address the problem as you see fit with your staff. I know this may seem like a one-off problem based on the acclaim Dino gets on several boards, but I probably won't go back again.

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Unfortunately had a bad experience at Dino sunday night, which left me bothered b/c I was in the mood for that lasagna (ended up renting a zipcar and having a solid dinner at masa 14). I arrived at 8:50pm and waited by the door for exactly 4 minutes without being acknowledged. At that point, my wife showed up and we were now ignored for another 4 minutes (exactly). We walked out after 9 minutes without being acknowledged at all. I don't want to make a big deal out of it, but I wanted to bring this up so you can address the problem as you see fit with your staff. I know this may seem like a one-off problem based on the acclaim Dino gets on several boards, but I probably won't go back again.

I'm curious to know, did you actually ask to speak with someone? Their host(ess) stand is next to the front door so unless there was nobody around, it puzzles me that you wouldn't have spoken to whoever was around.

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I'm curious to know, did you actually ask to speak with someone? Their host(ess) stand is next to the front door so unless there was nobody around, it puzzles me that you wouldn't have spoken to whoever was around.

There was nobody to speak to. The hostess was not there, the bartender was making eye contact and running away and to be honest it's not my style to ask to be served a busser/runner? walked by three times a server walked by, but nobody went up to us. At the time I was about to go to the bartender my wife told me not to do so, she just wanted to leave.

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This is not how we want to treat people at Dino. Our hostess that night was out sick but that does not excuse the lack of a greeting from another staff member. It should not have happened.

I am sorry that you were treated with less than our expected level of service. I have sent you a PM.

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We are neighbors and big fans of Dino--we dine there once every couple of months of so. At the end of December, we ventured out for our first real restaurant meal with our new (6 week old) baby. My new-mother confidence was boosted not only by the fact that the restaurant is a couple minutes' walk from our house, so we could escape if there were a major meltdown, but also because I know Dino's has a children's menu and I have frequently seen a few families with children in the earlier evening hours.

We went early (6pm--we were shooting for 5.30, but our young son cannot yet read time; also he objects to putting on pants and had to be soothed after the trauma), on a weeknight, and without a reservation, since punctuality is not our strong suit right now. We were escorted to a quiet upstairs table, and the staff ensured that other diners were far enough away from our table so that both we and they were comfortable. The boy was well behaved, the food, as always, was delicious, and we look forward to many more trips as our son grows up. Thank you Dino!

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This is one of my favorite restaurants in DC - in the top 5 for sure. The passion and love for food are so obvious in everything we have tried. We order burrata just about everywhere we see it offered and it hasn't ever equaled the creamy goodness found here. Kudos to the chef and staff.

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This is one of my favorite restaurants in DC - in the top 5 for sure. The passion and love for food are so obvious in everything we have tried. We order burrata just about everywhere we see it offered and it hasn't ever equaled the creamy goodness found here. Kudos to the chef and staff.

Is their burrata brought in or made in house?

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from the menu (since I just happened to be looking at it... :angry: ):

"Bufala Cheese ~ air freighted from Puglia, Sundays & Thursdays ~ fresh mozzarella outside ~ fresh curds & cream inside ~ olive tapenade ~ red pepper tapenade ~ oven roasted tomato ~ olio & basil"

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from the menu (since I just happened to be looking at it... :angry: ):

"Bufala Cheese ~ air freighted from Puglia, Sundays & Thursdays ~ fresh mozzarella outside ~ fresh curds & cream inside ~ olive tapenade ~ red pepper tapenade ~ oven roasted tomato ~ olio & basil"

So it looks like they are serving it quickly, which is a good thing. I guess the other places don't do that.

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When I had asked about it on one visit they said they sell out on a regular basis and restock every week. This was a couple of years ago. It just seems considerably fresher there than anywhere else I've tried it.

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I know this may seem like a one-off problem based on the acclaim Dino gets on several boards, but I probably won't go back again.
That would be a terrible thing to do to your taste-buds. We have been going to Dino since it opened and the service is always impeccable. You must have hit the one night in a millennium when things didn't. Don't slight yourself, the wild boar pasta is to die for (and the host is an okay guy now and then too :angry: )

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Just a note I updated our online menu for the first time in two weeks.... much more wintry now. But some fun new stuff like fish "meatballs", lentil soup with lamb meatballs and braised veal short ribs. 33% off wines 50+ and $35.10 for 3 courses all month.

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That would be a terrible thing to do to your taste-buds. We have been going to Dino since it opened and the service is always impeccable. You must have hit the one night in a millennium when things didn't. Don't slight yourself, the wild boar pasta is to die for (and the host is an okay guy now and then too :angry: )

+ a bunch. I've been away too long and need a return visit!

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Unfortunately I haven't been back to Dino after my experiences there and I did give them a second chance. I remember a pasta and boar dish we enjoyed but the service was so horrendous that the food was completely overshadowed and left no positive impression. Several years ago I went with my wife and we had a waitress that was apparently new (we didn't want to embarrass her by asking). All our dishes, and I mean all, were either not ordered or a different order was put in. As we waited for our appetizer, we were ignored, when we received the wrong appetizer we were assured the correct one would be right out but it wasn't, this literally continued for the whole meal. An experience that should have been an hour and fifteen minutes stretched to over 3 hours. Because the manager at the time had been a party to what we endured we were given 25 dollar gift card when we left. We felt bad for the waitress, we've all been young and in a bad spot before, so we left most of the value of the gift card in her tip and wished her well.

About six months after that we were in the area and gave a second chance. We ordered a meal which once again was okay, but I block the experience from my mind so I don't remember what I ate. At the conclusion of the meal we gave the waiter our AmEx and the gift card. Sure enough the waiter was back shortly, treating us shabbily because he thought we were trying to scam him with a gift card that he claimed, and I don't doubt, had 1 cent or so on it. I explained why we had been given the gift card in the first place, endured a glaring, tense standoff with waiter's said shabby treatment, paid the bill and left. I've toyed with the idea of going back because of the posts here, but my wife will have none of it and I value her opinion as I will tend to be over generous with my opinions and "let bygones be bygones" attitude and have suffered for that in the past.

Sorry to rant but reading about giving a second chance triggered me to post this after these years.

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Several years ago I went with my wife...

About six months after that we were in the area and gave a second chance.

So you haven't been back since Dean took over the kitchen?

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Had dinner at Dino's last night with two other couples. Started the night off right with a 2, oh, perhaps 4 of the Five Families cocktail (their take on a Manhattan) and antipasti at the bar. We ate family style, which gave us the opportunity to try several dishes. Appetizers included white anchovies, artichokes, smoked mozz, saltimbocca, roasted fall veg, 3 cheese polenta, and burrata. Mains included pasta tubes with sausage sauce, corkscrew pasta with tenderloin tips sauce, bistecca, and whole fish. More cocktails. More wine. Everyone had dessert - mine was the trio of "adult" sorbets.

The antipasti at the bar and appetizers have often been my favorites, so much so that I often make a meal just out of those. The pickled green beans and garlic, white beans, and olives at the bar were perfect munchies while enjoying my cocktail(s). The real winners in the appetizer round last night were the saltimbocca and three cheese polenta. IIRC, the roasted veggies could have used a bit more herb and a little less olive oil but that may be my personal taste. While I liked our other apps, I think it's time for us to move on to some new stuff. We're getting in a bit of a rut eating the same old, same old.

The best part of the mains has traditionally been the homemade pasta. The pasta tubes have become a staple for us, not just because of their great flavour, but because I really enjoy the 'toothiness' of them. But the corkscrew pasta may have surpassed the tubes as our favorite. Again, a great taste and texture, but I really enjoyed the way they held on to the sauce. I like the way the sauces are used at Dino - they accompany and enhance the pasta but never overwhelm. The pasta is still the star of the dish.

I was the lucky guy who snagged the head of the whole fish. The cheeks of any animal are the best!! And the bistecca was, as usual, perfectly seared on the outside with an almost a "creamy" rare inside. The thing I appreciate the most is that the steak had none of that grey overcooked "mantle" under the charred crust. I can only dream of owning a grill as hot as the one they must have in their kitchen.

Dino on a winter night with a large group of friends is exactly what was needed after a stressful week of work. I think what we ordered reflected our need for a simple, but well prepared dinner. We bypassed some of the more complex dishes (like the beggar's purse, lentil soup, maialino, etc) in favour of simpler dishes. And at $60/person (not incl tip), the meal was a steal. Thanks for the great meal and patient service.

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From this week's Washington Business Journal:

In what ways do you think Dino has left its mark on the restaurant scene? We’ve been early adopters of a few things that are now quite commonplace, such as free aperitifs during happy hour, offering two sizes of wines by the glass. I’m glad we’ve been a part of that. I think in general we’ve helped aid in the demystifying of wine. People who take our wine classes love our approach — in Italy, wine is something you drink. You don’t wax poetically about it. You understand what it means in the culture, in its history.
Very interesting interview accompanied by an uncredited photo of svelte Dean.624041-0-0-1.jpg

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