We heard several weeks ago that one of our favorite plces in DC was going to close so we booked DINO's (www.dino-dc.com) for the three of us last night and by the time we ordered, the place was jammed.
Everyone has heard that friend and owner Dean Gold will be closing his doors in early January and last night, with the chill in the air of winter, the place was jammed with many
long-time diners trying to fit in another last supper. The place got so busy, the service did fall behind just a tad every now and then, but we had a great meal for sure.
Samuel enjoyed a White Peach Lemonade and Will had a yummy Strawberry Balsamico drink, these two were far superior to the Organic Grapefruit Refresher which was overly sweet and the Spicy Ginger Ale, which Samuel had some sparkling water added to as it was bit syrupy. These were indeed the only bad food/drink issues.
I started with a glass of Palama "Arcangelo" Negroamara 2011 from Puglia which was superb with our starters (Will & I shared everything):
Black Truffle Braised Matsutake Mushrooms with Savoy Cabbage, Young Ginger, Sesame Oil & Lime which indeed sound very Asian, but is an Italian twist for sure and not soy-based or salty at all. The huge mushrooms were earthy, the cabbage the perfect foil and the truffle just perfected the dish.
Santa Monica Farmer's Market Fried Baby Artichokes Roman Jewish Style are served with Dino's Silk Road Spice Rub, Lemon and Hawaiian Black Sea Salt that makes the dish just salty enough in each bite with a large grain of salt.
My second wine was a divine Sao Polo "Rubio" Sangiovese Toscano Rosso 2011 which was silky but with ever so slight tannins that matched our pasta courses to perfection.
We indulged in the RISOTTO BIANCO with TARTUFO BIANCO or the oh so well known White Truffle Risotto which Dean generously shaved with the precious funghus. DIVINE, and the season ends soon, so don't wait for this treat. Next came FUSILLI SICILIANA with local Romesco, Broccoli, Cauliflower, Anchovy, Caper, Rosemary, Garlic, lemon and olio. It was not puttanesca, but just shy of that with lots of flavor and little bite.
I am going to try and copy this sauce at home soon as I did some anchovy cooking last week and it really imbues huge taste into a sauce!
Samuel enjoyed the FETTUCINE Pomodoro e Pesto with Fresh Heirloom Tomato Essence, a touch of cream, Roasted Garlic and Pesto Swirl that disappeared very fast.
I moved on to my final wine which was Sanguinetti "Nessun Dorma" (how can I ignore a wine named after such a great opera aria?) 2011 which is a smooth rich journey made from Sangiovese, Syrah and Merlot.
We split our main course of Grilled Truck Patch PORK CHOP with Tree & Leaf Tuscan Black Kale, Next Step Celery, Ginger and OJ (yes, orange juice!). It was a divine farm blend of celery and kale that made this dish over the top and from the local farmers that Dean has found and made so special in all his recipes.
Sam ate his intense CHOCOLATE TORTA of Valrhona Chocolate Ganache, Walnut Crumble and Vanilla Whipped Cream but was upset it was a hot molten chocolate (well, he should have asked!).
Will and I enjoyed three cheeses:
Capra Cremosa Tartufo -truffled goat
Castelmango-a raw sheep/cow that is crumbly and slightly blue
Erborinato Percorino Blu-sheep/cow raw blue that has an edge but not too intense.
These came with dried fruits/bread and tasty nuts.
For dessert we split a superb ASIAN PEAR & FIG CRUMBLE made from Heyer's Asian pears, Dates and Spiced Crumble and adorned with the most super Black Pepper Gelato.
We left full after hugs and goodbyes, but hope that Dean and his wife Kay are back in business ere long.