My wife and I tried Rino's last night, and I am happy to report that we also had a great meal. I am also happy to report that the restaurant was packed most of the time we were there.
We started with carpaccio, which was beautifully sliced, very pink sirloin, topped with a fairly young parmesan (I would have preferred it a little more aged) and capers.
We split a linguine with frutti di mare, and asked them to make it with white wine and garlic, rather than the red sauce listed on the menu. There was a little delay, when the kitchen apparently prepared the dish with the red sauce and our waiter caught the error before it was brought to the table. Rino Jr., who runs the front of the house, brought us complimentary glasses of wine to apologize for the mistake (even though we were mostly unaware of it at that point.) When the dish arrived, it was very well prepared with the linguine cooked to a perfect al dente state, and the mussels, clams, squid and scallops very tender and flavorful. Portions, even split, were huge. I highly recommend asking for this off-the-menu preparation. Rino Jr. can explain to you why they can't put it on the menu. (Remember that Rino Sr. used to own the still extant Modo Mio.)
For the meat course, my wife had the Tuscan steak. It was perfectly cooked to her preferred so-rare-it's-almost-still-mooing state. I had the veal scallopine with baby artichokes, which was also very good. Both dishes came with excellent garlic-roasted potatoes. There were also green beans, which were the only let-down of the meal; they seemed to be canned, and were far "mushier" and army-green color than I like my green beans.
Desserts were quite good. My wife had a chocolate concoction that was very much like a chocolate creme brulee. I had zabaglione, which came with a scoop of peach sherbert. I would have preferred it by itself, I think.
Service, provided by Marco last night, was very good. (Marco told us he is a former Rome police officer, and, because of the crowd, at times last night he was frenetic enough to look like he was directing Rome traffic.)
In all, it was the best Italian meal I have had in Dallas since Modo Mio changed hands. We'll definitely be back.
Scott: you are very right to bemoan the fact that Rino's Ristorante only received two and a half stars from the Dallas Morning News. The deserve much better than that.