Sunday, January 26, 2014
Dinamo: New Upscale Italian in a Familiar Place
Dinamo is a newer restaurant in a familiar space: the old 821 Cafe location at 821 W. Cary Street. The inside is a far cry from the decor of the old 821 Cafe with Dinamo's bold graphics and baroque mirrors. The place is still very small which lends to a cozy dinner atmosphere. I don't want to be a hater, but it would be nice with some color on the walls to really make it more lived-in. I would think that reservations are a good idea since it is so small and there was limited bar space as well.
Dinamo is owned by the same people who brought you Mama Zu's and Edo's Squid so you know the food is going to be good (On a side note, this place was nice if you don't care for Mama Zu's no credit card policy and/or don't wish to go to Oregon Hill, or you wish to avoid the loudness of Edo's but still want some good Italian). If you are looking for more traditional Italian fare, such as eggplant parm or a giant plate of lasagna, then this isn't the place for you. Instead, you'll find a limited menu of fresh items that are unique and wonderful.
My husband Alan ordered the appetizer serving of cabbage. It was very well seasoned and robust with several spices and was large enough to eat as an entire meal. It blew him away.
Alan had the sausage and potato dish. The sausage was huge. I had the squid ink pasta with seafood. It was absolutely wonderful. The portion was a good size, the pasta tasted home made, and there was plenty of seafood in it including shrimp and calamari. This was my first time having squid ink pasta and it didn't taste odd or "squidy". I enjoyed the novelty factor of eating black pasta.
The service was pleasant and swift. They had one young woman whose entire job appeared to be refilling water so we never wanted for drink. The wine list was small but good with a few wines available by the glass. No fancy stem ware here--you drink your wine out of small tumblers.
It was a great dining experience and we will likely return in the near future. We are always on the hunt for tasty new Italian restaurants and we are glad we can add this to list when we want unusual, high quality Italian fare in a cozy and intimate setting.