Saturday, August 27, 2011

Enjoying a good meal before the storm hits

Full course dinnerImage via Wikipedia

Route 4 is a stone's throw from Dinallo's Restaurant, but inside the tastefully decorated dining room, all I could hear were whoops from the noisy bar crowd and the Frankie Valli sound track.

The real worry Friday evening was the river on the other side of the parking lot, and everybody was talking about Hurricane Irene and the storm that hit the River Edge restaurant four years ago, leaving waist-high water in the bar area and damage everywhere else.

As I ate dinner, the owners and staff discussed moving tables, chairs, beer and liquor upstairs to avoid water damage this time. 

The dining room has heavy wood paneling on the lower half of the wall, and above that, there are nostalgic wedding and family photos that strike a familiar cord if your parents were married in the early 1930s, as mine were.

I started with Dinallo's Salad ($8) -- bell peppers, beefsteak tomato wedges, cucumber slices and pitted olives in a house dressing, topped with a slab of cheese.

From the specials, I chose an entree of two meaty soft-shell crabs, perfectly fried and served with a mound of mashed potatoes and one of the most generous portions of sauteed fresh spinach I've ever encountered ($26).

The kitchen occasionally strays from strictly Italian-American food, as with the feta cheese served over my salad and the spicy chipotle sauce that came with my crabs, though there wasn't enough of it. 

I loved all that spinach, but the cook left two bitter, nearly raw cloves of garlic on the dish -- and I ate them.

I finished with a small pot of  strong black coffee ($2.75), and declined complimentary cookies.

I bought a discount coupon for Dinallo's from LivingSocial -- for $15, I was entitled to $30 in food and drink. But as a sweetener for my first purchase from the site, I paid only $5 for the coupon.

My food cost $36.75 and tax was $2.57, for a total of $39.32. The coupon reduced that to $9.32 and I left a $6 tip. So I paid only $20.32 -- close to a 50% discount.

When I left, I saw a group enjoying dinner and drinks at a table set up under a tent in the parking lot. The late-day sun was shining. Irene was far away.

Dinallo's Restaurant, 259 Johnson Ave.,River Edge; 201-342-1233. 

Web sites:

 Dinallo's Restaurant


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1 comment:

  1. I went by Dinallo's after Hurricane Irene hit North Jersey and saw a dumpster in the parking lot filled with debris, presumably from the flooded interior.

    A hand-written sign on the door said the owners hope to re-open on Sept. 10.


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