The other day I saw a thread on Chowhound, discussing which restaurants people were most concerned about closing. One that was mentioned several times was Dinette, a place on lower Capitol Hill that has been on my must-try list for far too long. We were in town this weekend for a dance concert, so we made sure to make it to Dinette for dinner.
There was some difficulty finding a parking space, and we ended up in the Diamond parking lot at John and Summit, which impressively listed about four different rates for weekend parking. Pick your favorite?
Finding the restaurant was no problem, and getting a table was definitely no problem, as the place was nearly empty the entire time we were there. I hope for the restaurant’s sake they do a much brisker business later in the evening, because this is a wonderful place.
There were some nifty sounding cocktails on the menu, so we tried a couple: the Green Cat for me, and the Gingersnap for Jon. Mine had a very pleasant tartness without being aggressive. The Gingersnap was really reminiscent of the Dragon’s Toe at Liberty, minus the cucumber. A big hit.
To go with cocktails, we ordered off the Toasts menu – by far the largest part of Dinette’s offerings. One of our toasts was topped with tapenade, cauliflower and cheese – fantastic. The other had a spread of fig-anchovy paste topped with arugula and duck prosciutto. It was delicious, but I still haven’t quite wrapped my head around the combo of figs and anchovies.
The toasts were really fun. I would come here all the time just for toast and drinks if I lived in the area, especially after a show.
For our main, we shared a plate of the fettucine carbonara and a butter lettuce salad. These were both wonderful – actually, the carbonara tasted exactly like the one we made ourselves for Thanksgiving, handmade pasta and all. The only difference was the addition of fresh shell peas, which were a bit starchy but still good.
The salad was simple and fresh tasting with shaved fennel, radishes and a bright dressing of preserved lemon. It was the perfect foil for the pasta, which was heavy with egg and pepper.
We finished with a pot of coffee (necessary for staying awake through a concert and the long drive home). My overall impression? A great, low-key place to get the sort of food you could cook at home if you wanted to. I thought all the food and flavors were great, just my kind of thing, but none of it was beyond my own cooking skill level. That’s hardly a problem, though, when someone else is bringing you the food and cleaning up the mess. And mixing your drinks for you.
As usual, I wish we lived closer so we could come here more often. It’s a perfect neighborhood restaurant.