Oh, Dime. We were so excited to give the Dime a shot. We had an event downtown, so we took it as an opportunity
to swing by at an off-peak time,figuring it would be quiet. That should be a good time to try a restaurant, when the cooks aren’t besieged by orders…right?? So we walked into the quiet dining room around 3 pm and opted to sit at the bar. The dining room was quite slick and chic. The bar itself was a beautiful marble and directly behind our seats was an interesting thin bar with tall stools that was obviously meant for drinks only.
It started out in a pretty interesting way- the menus are actually tablets.
You can click on items to see photos and detailed descriptions. We opted to try the bacon mac and cheese ($8), braised short rib with pea puree and carrots ($16), and the Dime burger ($12). Let’s start with the macaroni and cheese. I have mentioned in other reviews (e.g., TheMint, Hamilton) that, to me, a good mac and cheese should be creamy- the (al dente) noodles should be enrobed in a cheese sauce. My least favorite type of mac and cheese is the kind that’s greasy from the cheese, without having fully incorporated the cream to coat the noodles…which is what we found at Dime. It’s almost as though a sauce was attempted and then broke, leaving a greasy film coating the noodles, with occasional chunks of cheese and a puddle of cream at the bottom of the dish. The bacon was crispy, which was nice, but the pasta itself was a bit mushy- it tasted a lot like leftover pasta that you have at home and then warm up in the microwave.
The short rib and burger came out next. T and I are very big short rib fans- and because we love it so much, we actually tend to give places the benefit of the doubt when it comes to poorly executed short rib (rather than be overly picky). So, we tried to do the same here. It was a fairly small portion, but it was only $16, so they can’t be faulted there. I pulled apart the rib and it came apart easily, and it actually appeared to be glistening with juice. Turns out, appearances can be
very deceiving. I’m not sure how it was cooked, but I’ve never had anything that looks so moist taste so very dry. It was also very poorly seasoned- bland and dry are not the way you typically want to describe a nice
chunk of short rib. The meat was on top of a dollop of pea puree, which definitely tasted of fresh pea… but there was zero salt. None. At restaurants like the Dime, I expect that I won’t need to request something as basic as salt.The saving graces of the dish were the carrots and onions- the carrots had a nice crunch and (finally) some curry seasoning. The onions were pickled and bright. Between the two of us, we didn’t even finish the plate, we just had no desire to eat any more than half of it.
The burger came out looking like a magazine model. The bun was toasted and crispy on the edges,and you could see melty cheese coming out of the side. The meat itself was unfortunately overcooked and dry (we requested medium temp). However, it did have a fantastic smoky flavor- it smelled like a burger cooked over the coals in the backyard in the summertime. We asked the server if she knew how it was cooked or why it was so smoky, but she did not know. It would be nice if the serving staff had basic knowledge or at least offered to find out how food was prepared (especially when there were so few people to be waited on). I ended up walking by and asking the cook later. He told me that the grill itself and a special seasoning mix are responsible. The smoked bacon and smoked gouda contributed to this overall smoky quality as well. The fries were quite good- nicely seasoned and crispy. The burger also came with a whole pickle that was perfectly crunchy and vinegary. It would have been great if they would have added some pickles to the actual burger,or at least some type of sauce, maybe caramelized onions…
Overall, we were very underwhelmed by this visit to Dime. I had really been looking forward to it- I would still like to give it a try another time to see if this experience replicates. Perhaps the quality of the food is better during a dinner rush- it could be that this is when they staff their more skilled and experienced cooks…? Either way, I am not willing to write off Dime just yet, let’s hope our future experiences outweigh the first.
Food and Drink: 13/20