Thursday, July 12, 2007

No Corkage Fee at Dino

Dino is always a fabulous place for a glass of wine and a great meal, but during the summer they are waiving their corkage fee entirely from Monday through Wednesday, so it's all the more reason to plan a visit. We dined there earlier this week and had a really lovely evening. Most folks brought a bottle of red, but it was hot and steamy out, so I opted for a nice white Argentinian table wine. We decided to start with that and it was a great entree for the meal. The crisp and refreshing and still somewhat fruity taste was perfect for awakening the palate and also for pairing with Dino's rustic and usually very fresh and flavorful food. I shared the Tris di Crostini, which I also shared last time I was at Dino. It was great again, although instead of baguette they are now using Ciabatta, which makes for a bit more messy eating, but it still works superbly. The crusty pieces of bread are topped with either white bean and mushrooms; caramelized balsamico cippolini and blue cheese; or goat cheese, pesto and oven-roasted tomato. The mushroom and pesto combination is dynamite, and I really enjoy the tomato version as well. Dino also changed up the salads on offering, and added a new section to the menu - "La Griglia Toscana: The Tuscan Steakhouse." No one ordered from that portion of the menu this time, but it all looked delicious, just a bit heavy for my taste, especially on a summer evening. Options include a strip steak, a porterhouse, a ribeye and a rack of lamb. For my main, I had Insalata di Fagioli, or traditional Tuscan grain and bean salad. The salad features fava and borlotti and cannelini beans, peas, farro, roasted veggies and artichoke, and a light lemon olio herb dressing. I topped the salad with rotisserie chicken, which for $3 is a real deal and really makes the dish satisfying. The flavors melded together beautifully, and still going with the white table wine, all together it was a really lovely combination. Others enjoyed various of the pasta varieties, the Linguini al Pesto which comes with lots of veggies, potatoes, and pesto, being a standout. One of the specials that evening was squash blossoms stuffed with mozzerella and coated with panko bread crumbs, fried and served with a tangy and delicious tomato sauce. A real winner of a dish for sure. I tried a bite with a sip of an Argentinian Malbec and it was gorgeous. We all had a really nice, and thanks to no corkage fee relatively inexpensive yet delectable meal. I would recommend taking a break from the heat and enjoying an evening at Dino for sure.

3435 Connecticut Avenue in NW DC

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