The Rockwell group ventured out for a $20 Tuesday at Dino’s. They have a $20 menu that is available before 7pm. The evening started out at the bar, where Chris makes some excellent drinks. Due to the number of people from our group, lucky for me and my extreme alcohol intolerance (my face was glowing pretty quickly), I managed to sample a little of a number of drinks. Most memorably was the Apple Jack with organic apple cider and organic cinnamon. It was a very pretty, slushy little drink. We headed upstairs for the meal. We started with some wine. Though I have to say for me, I notice that wines are different, but I couldn’t tell anyone too much more beyond that except to pass very general judgement. So I will leave it at that.
There are a couple of options for starters, and I chose the prosciutto. The prosciutto there is cut with a hand cranked machine that does not heat up during the cutting. If it were to get too warm, the meat would start to cook and become crisp and dried out. It came plated with cornichons and a pickled onion. I don’t know if this the correct thing to do, but I liked to take a bit of the meat with a little bit of the pickle so that there is a contrast of the salty and meaty with the sour and slightly sweet. I don’t know how one is meant to judge prosciutto, but it wasn’t too salty and it tasted darn good. It reminds me of my uncle who makes his own prosciutto – burying it in his yard and slicing it up. My uncle always grinds some fresh pepper on top, which is something I wish I had remembered to do this time.
Next was pan-roasted pork ribs, a special for the Rockwellians. It came with roasted vegetables and roasted apple. The ribs were a dream – roasted long enough for the fat to melt away or become absorbed into the meat. The seasonings had a nice sweetness. I tried to manage with fork and knife, but these were the kind of ribs that you gnaw on afterward to suck up all the goodness. I would have enjoyed the pairing with the vegetables and apple a bit more, but I found them to be a little undercooked, with the exception of the roast potatoes.
For dessert was bread pudding. The presentation was beautiful with a caramel spider web of sorts and a dollop of vanilla gelato. Yum! After dessert was grapefruit campari sorbetto. Woohoo! It was nice to have some palate cleansing citrus to end.
This was also along apertifs of limoncello and grappa. Again I sampled a little of each. The limoncello was smooth and made me think of custard – though it wasn’t creamy. It was also nice that it wasn’t the typically astringent and tart that comes along with most lemon custard, but had a much more toned and evened flavor. The grappa was a bit fiery, but I still found it to be very smooth. But what do I know about alcohol at all?
It was a wonderful meal, and a fantastic deal for $20. I hear there’s pineapple and apple cider sorbetto on the menu now too. Mmm…
3435 Connecticut Avenue NW
Washington DC, 20008