Last week included a stop by Dinette for happy hour, and I’m so glad to have done it. It’s located on one of those funny blocks on Capitol Hill, where either you travel it daily or wouldn’t know it exists at all. I’ve been in the latter camp until recent trips to The Living Room, Knee High Stocking Co. and The Saint introduced me to this micro-neighborhood.
And frankly, I’ve thought of Dinette as a small and sweetly romantic restaurant, not somewhere to meet friends for a drink after work. But after cruising by on multiple occasions and spotting a bar — which I understand to be a relatively new addition — I decided that it had real possibility as a meet-up location. A quick check of the website told of happy hour, and I was sold.
The new bar area is tiny, without a doubt, but as far as I’m concerned perfectly sized. The tall ceilings and blue walls hung with tea trays are a nice complement to the substantial four-seat bar with pressed tin facing. Add two seats in each of the street-facing windows, and you have the entirety of the bar area. We tried several of the happy hour small plates: pate with toast, pickles and grain mustard; tapas plate with marinated Manchego cheese, fried almonds and olives; manila clams with white wine, parsley and garlic; and the smoked pork toast with sauerkraut and gruyere. Include a drink or two (I think I’ll try the house sangria next time around) and this made for a perfect small-bite meal for three.
Although we didn’t stay for dinner, I plan to return to sample more of the “rustic European” menu. Here’s what I already have my eye on: toast with creamy gorgonzola, toasted walnuts and balsamic syrup; tagliatelle hand-cut noodles with a French lentil and chanterelle mushroom ragu, white truffle oil and crispy bread crumbs; and the Honey Crisp Apple Crisp with cranberries, oatmeal streusel and vanilla ice cream. Now doesn’t that sound good?!
All in all, Dinette offers very good food and service in the kind of cozy neighborhood restaurant that you wish you had right around the corner. Alas, some of us have to travel to this one, but it’s well worth the trip.
[Photo courtesy of zeebleoop]