Harrington Park is not in our backyard, but when I saw that a New Jersey chef posted food porn from the restaurant on Facebook, I said to Lowell, “We have never been to a restaurant in Harrington Park. Let’s try this place.” He said, fine but where is Harrington Park?
We found this lovely town located in Bergen County and the restaurant seemed to be the type of establishment we find in many towns: it has been open a long time, serves good food for reasonable prices and is frequented by locals. If you live near Harrington Park, Dino’s is a recommended option.
Be forewarned: the decor needs to be spruced up and reminded us of a restaurant that we would have dined at in the ’60s. Dark walls, dim lighting, fake flowers and a clunky leather bound menu all detract from the ambiance. Marilyn (Monroe) wine bottles are displayed as well as a picture of this sex symbol. There were four red and white wines offered by the glass as well as sangria.
Service was attentive, specials written out with their prices, tables were spaced far enough apart to allow conversation, water refilled and silverware replaced. Warm bread was served with three choices: arugula butter, spicy oil and herbed oil.
Dino’s is known for their pastas, and the house-made cauliflower ravioli with lemon-brown butter sauce and toasted breadcrumbs caught our eye. It was split for us in the kitchen, and we each had three large, rich-tasting ravioli that were spectacular. What also impressed us was that you could discern the cauliflower along with the ricotta cheese. Along with the crunchy breadcrumbs, this dish was a winner.
In addition to Italian classics, contemporary dishes are also on the menu such as: roasted acorn squash with caramelized apple and candied walnuts drizzled with a goat cheese fondue; and spicy, crusted Cornish hen with butternut squash puree, baby bok choy and honey soy glaze. We opted for a special of a generous portion of beautifully cooked pan-seared monkfish with a white-wine sauce. The chunk of fish was sitting on a bed of spinach and topped with dried porcini mushrooms and fresh tomatoes. Prosciutto, a thin slice of eggplant and mozzarella topped tender veal medallions in the Veal Sorrentina which was accompanied by grilled asparagus and roasted potatoes. Dessert was a creamy panna cotta with stewed berries.
Dino’s is open for lunch Monday and Wednesday to Friday from noon to 2:30 PM. Dinner, Sunday from 1 to 9 PM and Monday and Wednesday through Saturday from 5 to 10 PM. Closed Tuesday.
12 Tappan Road
Cauliflower ravioli with lemon-brown butter sauce and toasted bread crumbs.
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Monkfish on a bed of spinach topped with dried porcini mushrooms and fresh tomatoes.
Photos courtesy of Lowell Saferstein