Dinette

by Rodzilla on September 10, 2010 · 2 comments

http://www.dinette-pgh.com/

Before visiting I had done quite a bit of reading about Dinette.  Chef/owner Sonja Finn has quite the resume; graduating from the CIA (Culinary Institute of America) and working at esteemed restaurants such as Magnolia Grill and Zuni Cafe, both of which were James Beard Award winners. Finn was a James Beard semi-finalist herself for rising star chef in 2010.

For her own Dinette, Finn focuses on fresh ingredients and a commitment to sustainability; both of which were very apparent during my visit.

Metal Straws – talk about sustainability

My father joined me for this outing, we arrived right at 5 and had our choice of seats. I of course chose to sit at the bar where we could watch the food being prepared.  I was also pleased to be able to have some interaction with the very friendly staff.

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Prime Real Estate – take the bar seats
From the bar I could see just how much they focus on fresh ingredients at dinette. The sous chef was laying out prosciutto to be used for the evening, as countless bags of just purchased (or picked) herbs and lettuces came from the back. 

My father and I took considerable time mulling over the menu, we were never rushed and the staff gladly offered their favorites when asked. We started with two salads.

Panzanella Di Farro
Avocado, Rooftop Tomatoes, Cucumber, Red Onions, Basil, Champagne Vinaigrette
This was my fathers, but I of course tasted it. All the ingredients played well off eachother. My particular bite was mostly avocado, barley, and basil which was fantastic. The nuttiness of the barley and fat from the avocado and olive oil added a nice weight to the otherwise very light salad.
Leaf Lettuce Salad
Radishes, Scallion, Ricotta Salatta, Green Goddess Dressing
I opted for the leaf lettuce salad, which I would choose if I had to decide between the two. The green goddess dressing was the best I’ve had. There was great flavor from the chives and I believe tarragon. The sweetness of the dressing was melded well with the saline hit from the ricotta salatta (a salted goats milk cheese, not to be confused with American ricotta) 

As for the pies, it goes without saying that the ingredients were incredibly fresh.  The crust is the thinnest I’ve ever had. I really enjoyed how crispy most of the pie was..there was a bit of tip sag but I could still pull off a good fold. The saucing was incredibly light, as to not jeaopordize the crispness of the crust.  The cheese was abundant but not overwelming. If you’re looking for a saucy pie: look elsewhere, but try this first.

I’d call these pies artisinal neopolitan style thin crust, but let’s not get caught up in styles. Just know that they are delicious.

Grilled Eggplant, Oil-Cured Olives, Salmoriglio, Fresh Mozzarella

Again beginning with my father’s selection. I only had a small bite of this, but it was amazing. The salmoriglio is a lemon, garlic, and olive oil sauce that was added to the pie after it came out of the oven, it was a great addition to the meatier flavor of the eggplant.
Salt-Cured Anchovy, Jalapenos, Capers, Fresh Mozzarella, Tomato
My own pie was equally delicious. Definitely on the salty side, but that’s to be expected when ordering an anchovy pie with capers.  The jalepenos did offer a fair amount of heat, not so much as to be uncomfortable, but they definitely added a kick.
A note on the size of the “individual pies”: My father and I are both fairly large eaters (small guys, large eaters), we each finished our pizzas without difficulty. They are a great size, smaller eaters would probably have some to take home. I had a small salad, and the pie. I left sated but not stuffed. 

A note on pricing – I’ve seen several yelp/urban spoon reviewers complain about paying $14-16 dollars for an individual pie. To start, when going to a more upscale restaurant, the focus is often on be more on quality than it is quantity.  The only pricing issue I could even consider mentioning is that they don’t have complimentary refills on soda, they are served in glass bottles (I’m sure it’s a sustainability thing). There is also more included in the price than just the food; one must consider experience and ambiance. Beyond that, I feel the pricing is quite fair. I challenge anyone to find ingredients as fresh and make a pie that tastes as good and be willing to charge less To consolidate the above rambling:  this isn’t pizza hut.

Overall I was incredibly pleased with our meal at Dinette, and look forward to returning to try the other offerings. I enjoyed the ambiance, staff, and especially the food. 

In case you are still on the fence,here is another positive review from Mike at Foodburgh

Dinette on Urbanspoon

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

1 SilentAngel

This is like a pizza has to look like :) Tasty and makes me feel hungry

2 Matt

those pizzas look delicious!

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