Friday, September 18, 2015

doin' the deals at DINO's in SHAW (9-17-15)

Yes, we have been to DINO's IN SHAW many times this year and there is a good reason. Chef/Owner Dean Gold is a generous, kind and caring guy who knows what his customers like and always comes through. he has donated many wonderful charity packages to food events which I work on and is always there himself to make sure the food is served and properly. Indeed, he was at our home just several weeks ago to do a package of cocktails and appetizers from March of Dimes last year! We had a ball.  Two of our friends who went to Dino's when it was in Cleveland Park had not been to the new place, so we dragged them out from Virginia to Shaw and the 6 of us had a fine evening.

To start, the bread is irresistible with olive oil and ground salt and pepper, fresh on the table....then we had a superb FUEGO VERDE which is a habanero infused tequila with house falernum (sweet syrup), lime juice and agave. It's kind of a margarita without the salt and a big punch. Our wine was a superb Calabretta (I can't ever recall hearing of this grape prior) from Etna, Sicily called "Gaio Gaio" Old vines lot g12, which apparently means most of the grapes are vintage 2012, but a blend is possible, It's a nice smooth wine with great flavors that worked excellently with both big fish and duck(those were our mains).

Starting was the always revelatory Deviled Eggs with parma prosciutto(crispy) anchovy, sriracha aioli and salsa verde; addictive!

Meatballs are always a hit, especially with the kids and I marveled at the Tomato & Mozzarella Salad (dubbed "not Caprese") as it seemed to have everything in it.

I started with the "Tuscan Bacon" Pork Belly & Brussels Sprouts which featured smallish sprouts caramelized to perfection and served with caramelized onion and saba (balsamic-ish sauce). The crispy belly was superb and the whole dish a hit.

Will had the Local Basil & Pesto pasta with preserved lemon, local zucchini & squash with carrots and tomato sauce, which is a paean to local produce at this time of the year (well, everything at Dino's is!).

If you seek heavier pasta head for the Chinghiale Pappardelle with wild boar ragu of tomato, burnt soffrito, cocoa,, cream, rosemary and pecorino pepato.

Samuel loved his Tuscan Pan-Fried Chicken with preserved lemon, garlic-sage, panko crust, sage pesto and sautéed kale (well, he wouldn't eat the kale--so we did) which had a wonderful lemony flavor as well.

The chicken was cooked perfectly and spicy and flavorful as well.

His friend had the burger, which came with cheese, even though we asked for it without...oh well. The both loved the simple vanilla gelato for dessert.

My main was Polpetto del Tonno or tuna meatballs that were meaty and flavorful in panko crust with Sephardic tomato sauce that was amazingly flavorful. The red chard sautéed with preserved lemon and garlic on the side was beyond superb.

Linguini with Vongole (clams) was simple yet flavorful with tiny tasty Virginia clams and a white wine garlic and herbs sauce. The Teres Major Steak (from Shenandoah Valley Beef Co-op) is tasty and superb with salsa verde and roasted Tuscan potatoes for the carnivores in you.

Only the Duck Breast of heritage Pekin Duck seared rare was a disappointment as it was more fat than meat, but it's Tuscan Mole sauce was garlicky and made with red wine, cocoa & dried fruit for a perfect sauce, alas on not a great meat. The borlotti beans were quite yummy, though.

We were full, but could not resist dessert. Rhubarb Crumble was super as was the Poached Peach which I had earlier this summer served with yogurt but just right for breakfast or a light dessert.

My Saffron Panna Cotta with Blackberry poached in Blackberry shrub was tasty as well, but I prefer a lighter panna cotta and this was quite rich and thick.

Our server Roberto was attentive and helpful throughout and really made us feel like he could do anything. This is the reason we always return, not to mention the dining deals with fixe price dinners, multiple plate options, wine discounts and more. Check out their website and plan your visit for the best deals at