Since Brian has yet to visit the new neighborhood favorite Dino, I decided to take matters into my own hands. I am no photographer, so you'll still have to wait for those glorious images of gluttony, but I think I have the advantage in terms of writing style. Hopefully I can charm you critical readers with my heavenly prose.
We hadn't planned to go to Dino, in particular. I was having dinner with a friend, unfamiliar with the Fort Greene eatery scene, and I decided to let him choose the spot. As we walked along DeKalb Avenue - in the middle of the ice storm, I might add - I pointed out Madiba, Cornerstone, and Kif, all favorites of mine. None of them seemed to catch his eye. We passed Sushi D (which apparently only got a B rating...a little scary for a sushi place) and the General Greene. We were about to walk by when he spotted the slightly hidden, but invitingly lit restaurant and pointed.
"That one," he said.
"Brian's going to kill me," I said.
We entered the front door and found ourselves in a small but cozy haven from the elements. There were only a few tables, maybe 10, but we were lucky enough to get one by the window, from which we could watch others struggle through the cold as we enjoyed a glass of wine. The staff was friendly and attentive, giving us a place to stow our bags and pointing out the specials, posted on a blackboard. I was almost convinced by the thought of pear and ricotta ravioli, but instead chose to order spinach gnocci and a side of roasted brussel sprouts. My friend got the caprese appetizer and grilled salmon served over lentils and topped with an eggplant tapenade.
While we waited for our food, we enjoyed bread with delicious olive oil. Since I have sworn off excessive cheese, I refrained from trying the mozzarella, but from the sounds of pleasure emanating from the seat across from me, I assume it was good. Then the main courses arrived. We both dug in, he exclaiming over his salmon's eggplant topping and I, charmed by the exotic contrast between the tomato sauce and roasted garlic cream that mingled atop my gnocci. As a gnocchi connoisseur, I enjoyed it, but wished it had been a bit more melt-in-your-mouth. The brussel sprouts, however, were to die for and I was so glad I had added them, almost as an afterthought. Buttery, yet crispy, they reminded me of Thanksgiving and my mom's cooking. And, as I'm sure previous posts on this blog have revealed, my mother is no amateur in the kitchen.
Once our plates had been cleared, we began contemplating dessert. Both of us are trying to diet, so there was a moment of hesitation, but we had been staring at the specials board all night and it had been calling to us. Green apple tart. When we heard it was served with vanilla ice cream, it was all over.
And so worth it. The crust was delicate and flaky, while the apples had the perfect tartness. The ice cream melted easily atop the warm tart and we devoured it. I almost regretted we hadn't ordered two.
Overall, I enjoyed Dino and look forward to taking Brian there so that we can get some pictures. I'm sure this is a place that will soon be added to his somewhat short list of recommended restaurants.