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Posted at 1:16 PM ET, 07/13/2005

Dine-o at Dino

By Erin

For those in search of a good casual, but authentic Italian restaurant (or a first date-friendly dinner destination), Dino is now open in the former Yanyu spot, across from the Uptown movie theater. The restaurant specializes in authentic Italian cuisine -- owner Dean Gold has traveled extensively to Italy and put great effort into seeking out different products and flavors for his menu. The result is a bright, welcoming atmosphere and the kind of place where you can bring family, a date or a business associate and feel comfortable. The menu has some interesting options that set it apart from other Italian spots.

There are several types of crostini available as starters. I would recommend the "carciofi" (Italian for artichoke) or the salty "alla Dino" with blue cheese and anchovies. There are a few different kinds of small plates that span several regions of Italian cuisine. For example, diners can start with baby octopus, calamari, braised meatballs or prosciutto.

With Vace down the block and 2 Amys within a mile, Gold and his chef, Johnny Neilsen of Andale, Palena and Tribeca Grill in New York, decided to focus their efforts on dishes other than pizza. As for those other dishes, while the pastas were presented al dente, the rotisserie chicken and grilled fish were the standouts. On a sweet note, dessert offers a delectable panini slathered with nutella and a fascinating spin on tiramisu that uses Limoncello in place of espresso.

The wine list and cheese selection are two special treats. Gold has a background in both, having coordinated wine, cheese and specialty foods for the Whole Foods locations in Southern California. The extensive wine list is reasonably priced and the corkage fee is a modest $10. There are certainly kinks to be worked out at Dino -- I did not enjoy the steak, and the pastas need more flavor. In general, it is a welcome addition to the dining scene and a place I'll keep in mind for my next Italian craving or trip to the Uptown.


By Erin  | July 13, 2005; 1:16 PM ET
Categories:  Restaurants  
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Correction, Erin.

Corkage fee refers to the price an establishment charges to serve the wine you bring in from outside the restaurant.

Dino claims to only charge a $10 "markup" on it's acquisition costs.

Get it straight!

Posted by: Wine fanatic | July 15, 2005 12:58 PM | Report abuse

Sorry to confuse some readers. The restaurant does indeed charge a $10 markup for labels on its list. If you would like to bring in your own bottle, they will charge $10. From their website: "Our basic pricing policy will be suggested retail plus $10.00 for readily available wines. Our corkage fee will also be $10.00."

Posted by: Erin | July 15, 2005 4:05 PM | Report abuse

Damn, guess she got YOU straight, wino.

Posted by: Beer fanatic | July 16, 2005 12:08 PM | Report abuse

Just tried Dino a week ago and ordered a variety of dishes. The Crostini options were great and the cheese list was really good. The lasagna was flavorless, while the whole wheat in garlic and onion dish was unremarkable and served as a tiny portion. For pasta, I have to say Kuna/Opera (or whatever they're going to call it when they get back from vacation) still holds the DC belt.

Dino's is a great space though with a lot to try. And this is coming from a Yanyu addict.

Posted by: freshyD | July 18, 2005 1:25 PM | Report abuse

As a regular visitor to the site and reader of the many rest. reviews; I am in total disbelief!
Are we talking about the same place? Dino? This place ranks about 5% quality and about 95% over-ambitious. The 5% was the free prosciutto. The menu is burdened with unnecessary and poorly placed embellishments. The small portions are exactly the same as the large except in a smaller bowl. Their fresh veggi appetizer/side consisted of 7 slices of red and yellow pepper, along with three baby carrots.(wow) The pasta with the "condiment" of buffalo was a joke. It kind of reminded me of leftovers when you have run out of sauce and the pasta is barely coated enough to taste. The buffalo (or ground beef in English) was completely missing.
Reservations need to be accepted...they don't need to worry about it cutting down on their business, parties of 4 having to wait 55 minutes will do that on its own. Anywho...At least we got to go to Palena the next night for a fantastic burger and a very professional and friendly staff!!!

Posted by: Retief | August 11, 2005 1:58 PM | Report abuse

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