June 24, 2013
An inside source drops a dime on The Dime


If you grow up and play your cards right -- and really geek out on writing Yelp reviews -- you, too, could be honored as a Yelp Elite. I happen to know a Yelp Elite -- and yes, he is a superior person in many ways. But I digress.

This individual recently attended an invitation-only event at The Dime, which is headed by Noah Zonca, the longtime frontman/chef at The Kitchen. The Dime is still a couple of weeks from opening, but this is the behind-the-activity that happens as they start to ramp things up and test the food and the service on foodies and friends.

Now we have our first glimpses of the food, which is going to be around $10. It's a great spot in the 1800 block of L Street and, if the quality of the cooking lives up to expectations, folks are going to be lining up around the block to eat here. The dirty little secret in the farm-to-fork movement is that the food is often really expensive at restaurants that tout this way of cooking and eating.

If Zonca and company can feed the masses for $10 a pop, The Dime could be the next big thing.

Here's what my source reported to me. They're his words and his photos.


Heirloom Watermelon salad w/ fresh Perlini mozarella and poached wild prawns - Vietnamese fish sauce, peanuts, mint, Thai basil, cilantro and some other things. An extremely light and refreshing dish yet with a depth of complex flavors that complimented one another like a well-orchestrated symphony. My favorite dish of the night and one of the most creative takes on watermelon salad I've had.

The Bonini - an elderflower gin cocktail with cucumber - background on this drink is that Bonini is apparently Noah's mother's side of the family and they owned Bonini Tobacco on the East Coast during prohibition. After prohibition ended it became Bonini Tobacco & Spirits but he says the rumor was that spirits were always involved. Very nice and refreshing summer time cocktail with a really cool story behind it.

Chorizo Cheese Fries - addicting and delicious is all I can say. The cheese sauce was similar to a Mornay sauce, off-white in color, rich in flavor w/ a silky/creamy texture. Topped with pieces of a bacon-like chorizo. Perhaps his take on poutine fries. I'll be ordering them again.


Crispy Calamari & Shrimp - calamari strips battered and fried nicely. Served with a house-made calamari sauce.I really wish he did the little tentacles that I love w/ calamari! LOL.

House-smoked Pastrami Slider - house smoked pastrami. Really good flavor. High quality buns. Certainly a sandwich I can see myself ordering on a Sat afternoon with a good craft beer.

Best Damn Slider - house made pickles and heirloom green tomatoes. Mine was cooked to a perfect medium-rare. He'll be offering a burger and if this is a smaller scale of it, I can't wait to try the real thing.

Blair Anthony Robertson is The Bee's restaurant critic. Follow him on Twitter, @blarob.

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