Photos By Farrah Skeiky, Words By Brandon Weight
Dean Gold stood by our table to talk spices. Not in a coordinated press bit. Not to brag. The chef and owner of Dino’s Grotto in Shaw wanted to share his vast knowledge of traditional Italian fare, spices from the early Roman Empire, and ancient chef and gourmand, Apicius.
It was a welcome fireside chat alongside a spread at the reinterpretation of his former Cleveland Park restaurant of the same name. His historical research shows in the dishes he and his staff prepare.
Up first were a round of cocktails from beverage director Fabian Malone, who’s drinks are as clever as their names. Take “The Bitter Fruit of a Brazillian Threeway,” with avua cachaca, punt e mes, aperol, grapefruit and bitters.
The first course brought out can’t miss dishes like Asparagi E Gambretti (grilled head on shrimp over a bed of asparagus) and Trotter Tots (deliciously flash fried pork shanks and potato). Plus, for a grilled cheese that will turn heads, go for the Mozzarella in Carrozza.
For the main course, go with the skirt steak with anchovy salsa verde and tuscan potatoes. And, if you don’t mind bone-in meants, the Stacotto Di Capra with cubes of goat and pancetta is about as comforting as it gets.
That is, until you try desert. If nothing else, or if your stomach can’t fit anything else, dig into their cloud of Tiramisu. You won’t regret it.
Dino’s Grotto is located at 1914 Ninth Street NW.