My wife & I walked down the hill (Olive Way) from the Stumbling Monk last night and decided to stop in at Dinette. Nice!
We started with the "Snack Plate," your basic antipasti. Various salumi from Salumi (mole, salami, etc.), some cheeses, roasted peppers, and small wedge of their tortilla espanola (basically, a loose fritatta). Good selection of ingredients made this.
I got the venison special that another chowhound wasn't able to get. This was easily the best venison I've had in 3 or 4 years. Served rare (the server didn't ask, and I was fine with that - it's the only way to go with venison) with a Fuji apple gratin, string beans, and port/apricot demi-glace. A couple of $8 glasses of the 2000 la Bardonne Bordeaux was a perfect pairing with this.
My wife got the butternut squash agnolotti (like a crescent-shaped ravioli) in sage broth w/ gorgonzola & walnuts. This was a simple dish, but one that could easily be screwed up - fortunately, they nailed it. Perfectly al dente, nice sweetness in the squash, flavorful but not overpowering broth.
Desert was a brioche bread pudding, very nice. Not too custardy or sweet. (I think I still prefer Matt's or Marjorie, though.)
A word about the somewhat-confusing menu - it's broken up into "Toast," "Snacks," and "Bowls." Toasts, I gather, are small plates served on toast. Snacks, the more traditional appetizer section (though for some reason the salt-cod brandade with garlic toasts is listed here). Bowls are basically pasta or mussels. Entrees are only listed on the chalkboard. Since I like to chose small plates that complement the main course, I kept getting up from my table to read the board. I'd recommend they either include some secundi on the regular menu or print a separate card with the specials. If one weren't paying close attention, one might miss the fact that entrees were available at all - at the very least, they should have the specials printed or chalked up next to the menu in the window. Also, they need to at least put their address and a map (preferably including nearby parking lots) on their website.
Good luck to them - the lack of easy parking presents some challenges. I've certainly driven past this place plenty of times without noticing it. We'll be back, though - I'm told Tuesdays are "toast nights" where they ditch the regular menu for an expanded selection of their toast items.
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