Mike Berman’s Washington Watch

February 9, 2013 11:54 AM

Restaurant: Dino's


3435 Connecticut Avenue NW
(Restaurant Yanyu was previously at this location)

Debbie and I went to Dino's with Payton and Randall.

On a Saturday night the restaurant was teeming. Our reservation was for 7:15 p.m. and we were seated as soon as we walked in.

The restaurant seats about 114 people on two floors. The second floor is only reachable by a long relatively steep stairway. The tables range in size from two to 10 people, and are quite close together. And, because of that, it is pretty noisy, but we were able to hold a good conversation without straining.

The menu is quite extensive. There are a total of 83 food items offered, including 5 Cicchetti-Snacks, 17 Antipasti-Starters, 10 Primi-Risotto & Home Made Pasta, 1 Roseda Beef Hamburger, 14 Secondi Main Dishes, 8 Formaggi di Dino: Cheese, 9 House Charcuterie and Artisan Salumi, 8 Formaggi di Dino: Cheese 11 Desserts. Wines are served in 3oz, 8oz or bottle sizes. Mexican Coke, Mexican Fanta & Mexican Sprite are available, as well as Diet Coke.

Debbie and Payton had exactly the same meal; Santa Monica Farmers Market Fried Baby Artichokes and Local Flounder, griddled, young ginger & lime butter ,winter slaw with Cara Cara organge. At least for Debbie, the artichokes were somewhat disappointing. Both women lauded the flounder.

Randall started with Chard Terrine, chard, Italian ricotta di bufala, egg & breadcrumb, old balsamico & local tomato essence. For his main course he chose Scottiglia Charcoal Maker's Stew, Roseda Farms briske, Pekin duck leg & Truck Patch pork, rich red wine sauce, 4 cheese polenta.

Mike started with Spice Crusted Calamari, followed by Pappardelle Cinghiale Bianco, ground wild boar, onion, wine, rosemary & cocoa-pecorino. The Pappardelle was quite good, except it could have been a bit warmer when served.

We shared two desserts, both of which we enjoyed: Nutella Bread Pudding and Gianduia Nico bittersweet chocolate gelato with chopped chocolate hazelnut gelato with toasted hazelnuts chocolate sauce vanilla whipped cream.

Dino's notes on its that its fish are sustainable and its meats are raised free of subtheraputic antibiotics, hormones and growth stimulents.

Our server was Dayna, and was as good as any server I have ever encountered and better than most. I was also struck by the speed of service once we had ordered, given that every seat in the restaurant was filled.

The men's room is rather small, and includes a single white ceramic commode and a reddish hard counter on which is located a rectangular silver/grey washbasin. The floor and the walls are covered with blue grey tiles of varying sizes.

The women's room door happened to be open. All that was visible was the reddish counter, on which there was a black circular washbasin.

Parking is a bit of a problem. There is a parking lot across the street in the shopping center, but by 7 p.m. it was closed. We had to drive around a bit before we found a spot on a side street, two long blocks from the restaurant. If you can readily access the subway, the Cleveland Park metro station is across Connecticut Avenue from the restaurant.

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