2009-09-23 / Restaurant of the Week

Dino's Restaurant and Bar

Chef Dino Redzic welcomes you to the grand opening of his newest venue, eponymously named Dino's Restaurant and Bar of Astoria. After much success with Amici Amore and restaurants in Florida, Redzic is proud to offer Mediterranean cuisine with an emphasis on Italian cuisine and touches from his native country of Montenegro. Best of all, Dino's offers great value and welcomes senior diners with a twocourse dinner for just $9.95.

 

Dino's elegant dining room features rich leather banquettes, tables dressed in crisp linens and soft lighting. Soon, live dinner music will fill the air as you dine. The special "wine room" in the rear offers intimate dining, softly lit by a hand crafted chandelier made with prized wine bottles. A marble "chef's table" is available for parties of up to 12, where Dino will personally prepare a feast for you and your guests that you will not forget.

Indeed the meal we shared there recently was a memorable one. Dino's has a good selection of wines from California, Italy, France, Argentina and Montenegro, all at very reasonable prices, along with a full bar and even frothy draft beer. Dino's appetizers are big enough for 2- 3 to share and offer tempting choices such as Dino's famous baked clams with crispy bread crumbs and special seasonings ($12). The mussels are fresh and sweet, prepared with garlic and white wine sauce that begs to be soaked up with the crusty bread brought to your table. Fried calamari rings are wonderfully crisp and golden and very tender. My favorite treat is the sausages, made by hand in the Redzic family's own butcher shop called Ljuljhami on 30th Avenue. These tender, perfectly seasoned sausages are made with either beef, lamb, veal or chicken, and are grilled till crisp on the outside and juicy inside. They cure their own prosciutto as well and these delicious meats are incorporated into many of the dishes served here. As an appetizer, one may order a sampling of these grilled sausages, each with its own unique flavor and served with spicy red pepper tapenade…awesome!

 
Dino's pasta dishes are generously sized and delicious. Starting with the basics, choose your favorite pasta and top it with tomato sauce and mild sausage or tender meatballs for just $14. Tagliatelli are ribbon pasta topped with sautéed chicken and sausage, garlic, onions, chick peas, mushrooms and sun-dried tomatoes for a satisfying dish that is packed with flavor. Baked lasagna is made from scratch with layer upon layer of handmade pasta, fluffy ricotta cheese, meat sauce and fresh mozzarella, just like grandma's. We were treated to one of my favorite pastas called orecchiete or little ears, tossed with verdant broccoli rabe and those amazing house made sausages. Toothsome penne is topped with chunks of chicken and broccoli, tomatoes, olives, garlic and extra virgin olive oil. All pasta dishes include your choice of Caesar salad or Dino's salad tossed with sliced pears, radicchio, goat cheese and red onion.

 
Fish plays a prominent role in Mediterranean cuisine and Dino's serves only the freshest fish at market prices. Each night, five to seven different fishes are available, prepared with your choice of sauces. Francese is the classic butter, lemon and white wine sauce, while the Romano sauce includes Sambuca orange liqueur, mushrooms and sun-dried tomatoes, topped off with spinach and feta cheese. Of course your fish can be simply broiled with lemon and herbs if you prefer. The House Specialty is an abundant seafood platter prepared either fra diavolo style with a piquant sauce, or with a zesty marinara sauce. A mélange of clams, mussels, calamari, scungilli and chunks of the catch of the day are combined with the sauce of your choice and served with pasta for a seafood feast.

Veal saltimbocca is a Roman dish made by sauteing a thin, tender cutlet of veal with ham, spinach and provolone cheese in a light brown sauce. Veal Piccata is prepared with lemon and capers and the classic veal parmigiana is a popular item. The veal is so tender, it cuts with a fork and melts in your mouth. Chicken caccatiore is perfect for the cooler days of autumn, made with tomatoes, onions, peppers, mushrooms, prosciutto and olives in a wine based sauce. All of these dishes are served with your choice of salad and a side dish of spaghetti.

Dino's offers an impressive steak as well, with its NY sirloin, dry aged or freshly cut. These tender, juicy steaks are grilled to order and served with potato and spinach and cost a fraction of the price at a steak house.

For dessert there are special crepes called palacynka filled with Nutella and crumbled cookies. Italian cheesecake is made on the premises with ricotta cheese and the panna cotta is cool and creamy. Share some hazelnut ice cream or a tartufo ice cream bomb and some steaming espresso or cappuccino. After dinner cordials such as Limoncello or grappa are complimentary.

Panini sandwiches are available at lunchtime for just $5 to take away only. A nightly Happy Hour starts after work and offers a theme each night. Mondays are for wine tasting and Tuesdays offer specials for hospital workers. Soon, Chef Dino will offer cooking classes for adults and children and lots of special events are being planned. Check their website for more details. Please welcome Dino's Restaurant and Bar to Astoria at their official Grand Opening on October 12. The doors are open now so please come for dinner or take away lunch. Redzic welcomes all, especially seniors, to his new restaurant and is proud to give back to the community he calls home. Saluti!

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