Dine Restaurant Review, A Chicago Restaurant You Should Know

Entering Dine



Dine Restaurant, located on Halsted Street in the burgeoning west loop area, puts a distinctly modern spin on the comfort and familiarity of an old-fashioned diner. Our party of four--Barbara, Leon, Jackie and Steve, entered the restaurant on a damp and dreary day, and were immediately cheered by the warm earth tones. Shades of dark umber, bottle green, crimson, toffee, poppy, forest green and cardinal-red create an inviting and relaxed environment. We learned the restaurant was designed by the renowned Puccini Group based in San Francisco, and the earth tones are created by using vintage textural elements such as tin, tweed, mohair, leather and wool. "Our hope is that diners feel at home and are comfortable," says Creative Director Robert Polacek. "Dine is designed for comfort with lounge areas where we encourage people to mingle, eat and drink."

Enjoying the bar



The space is built on various elevations, and the four of us were led to a booth at the higher level, which had rich Brazilian Cherry wood floors, and high-backed booths, matched by upholstered dining chairs. The higher level is a mix of booths and bistro-style tables. The lower level is laid out with leather banquettes, and has a built-to-last terrazzo floor that was common in the 1940's but rarely used today because of its expense. Guests also are welcome to dine in the lively bar area, which features a custom-built zinc bar and leather club chairs. A spacious exposition kitchen overlooks the main dining area; and a handsome tin ceiling softly reflects the light back into the room.

Our waiter



While Dine has a requisite number of lighter soups and salads, to best enjoy this restaurant, check your diet, and your guilt, at the door. With half the items on this menu reminiscent of the fare found in a forties diner, and the other half an eclectic mix of contemporary dishes, you'll want to indulge in the heartier offerings.

A cheery corner



Starters:

Jackie began with Warm Leek and Gorgonzola Tart, Mixed Greens with Dijon Chive Dressing. The tart was great but the salad and dressing revealed many flavors and was delicious.

Warm Leek and Gorganzola Tart



Steve chose the Wedge Salad, Iceberg Lettuce, Green Onions, Tomatoes, Bacon, Blue Cheese Dressing. He commented he had not seen this on a menu for a long time and tasting it he said, 'It's everything a wedge salad should be'.

Wedge Salad



Barbara ordered the soup of the day, Eggplant-Tomato cream. She was very pleased there was a vegetarian soup available and found it rich, thick and slightly tart-so good.

Eggplant Tomato Soup



Leon found the Ale and Cracked Black Pepper Shrimp, Goose Island Seasonal, Black Pepper and Fresh Herbs appealing. He found it spicy but not overwhelming. In fact this was the dish we voted the best starter.

Ale and Cracked Black Pepper Shrimp




Classic Comfort Foods/Entrees:

Jackie's choice was Asparagus and Mushroom Risotto, Arborio Rice, Oyster Mushroom and Asparagus with Parmesan Cheese. The mushrooms were outstanding.

Asparagus and Mushroom Risotto



Steve selected Grilled Pork Chops, Bone-in Pork Chops with Roasted Garlic Whipped Potatoes and Apple Sauce. He thought they were cooked just to the edge of pink, just right.

Grilled Pork Chops



Barbara found Cedar Planked Salmon, Sauteed Spinach, Roasted Potatoes and White Wine Sauce. This was outstanding with a wonderful aroma, a smoky flavor and delicious wine sauce. It was moist but firm. The potatoes were just right, flavorful with a perfect texture. We voted this the best main course.

Cedar Planked Salmon



Leon ordered comfort food, Black Angus Meatloaf, Sour Cream Whipped Potatoes, Sauteed Spinach, Roasted Tomato Gravy. This was a very generous portion and hearty.

Black Angus Meatloaf



From the excellent selection of Sides, we chose to share the Mac and Cheese, an inspired take on the childhood classic. A mixture of white and yellow cheeses, blending with the perfectly textured macaroni; this has nothing in common with Mac and Cheese from a box. This was one of our favorites, and what we couldn't finish at dinner, we gladly took home.

Dessert:

We ordered the house specialty, the Red Velvet Cake, and again found an inspired take on an old classic. Instead of a wedge of cake covered with frosting, the round cake comes in three layers, separated by cream cheese frosting. Believe me, reader, when I say the cake was to die for. Rich, but not cloying, moist, but not heavy. it was satisfying to the frosting lover and the cake lover alike. Worth a trip, along with the frothy cappuccino, on it's own.

Happy Birthday, Steve



Duane W. Seaton, General Manager of Dine says, 'Our main goal is to position Dine as a destination. Whether customers are looking for a place to stop and have a drink at a bar or outdoor cafe, enjoy a good meal, entertain clients, celebrate a special occasion or just have a nice family meal, we want their first choice, for all of these things to be Dine'. Chris Turano is the Executive Chef and Kate Milhashus is the Executive Pastry Chef.

Duane W. Seaton, General Manager and Chris Turano, Executive Chef



Current drink specials at Dine:
Monday: half off bottles of wine with one entree purchase; Tuesday: half off all draft beers; Wednesday: $4 mixed well drinks; Thursday: half off glasses of wine with an appetizer purchase; Friday: $6 house martinis; Saturday: burger and beer for $9 (bar only), and Sunday: $2 Bloody Mary's and $5 mimosas.

Semi-private and private dining areas are available. Parking is free with validation. Pull up to the hotel lobby, the valet will valet and give you a card. The hostess with stamp it with a Dine logo and parking is completely free. Do not park yourself.

Dine is located at 733 Madison Avenue (Halsted and Madison), adjacent to the Crowne Plaza Chicago Metro Hotel. Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner are served and drinks are available at the Martini Bar and Lounge. Go to www.DineRestaurant.com or phone 312.602.2100 for further information or reservations.

Photos: Leon Keer











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