Salmon Fellini from Dino's on Lord Street in Worcester, MA

It had been 12 years since my last visit to Dino’s and I was delighted to see it had remained largely unchanged, a comforting blend of at-home Italian dining dressed up for a family celebration. Being one of the last to arrive (foodies always seem eager to arrive early), I took my seat and reacquainted myself with the menu.

I chose to start with the Goat Cheese Pear Salad, a wild greens salad topped with spiced walnuts, fresh caramelized pears, marinated tomato wedges, goat cheese, and a balsamic vinaigrette dressing. Though the look of the salad was a little underwhelming upon its arrival, the ingredients were fresh and came together well which made for a solid, though not exceptional, start to the meal.

Since seafood is a claimed specialty for Dino’s and there is only so much meat, tomato sauce, and pasta a human body should process, I decided to order the Salmon Fellini. Described as “Atlantic salmon broiled and topped with artichoke hearts, sun dried tomatoes and leeks, topped with spears of asparagus and honey dijon sauce,” it seemed healthy enough to count as lighter fair and had enough sweet, fatty sauce to make me happy (ordering it over a buttery risotto is something I’ll conveniently ignore). The meal was delicious, and I was surprised at how well the honey dijon accented the salmon and sun dried tomatoes in particular. It was also one of the few dishes on the table that came in a manageable portion size, much to my belt’s delight.

With great, no-nonsense service and a selection of dependable dishes, Dino’s continues to be the work-horse of Worcester’s Italian restaurants. It may not always be the prettiest, shiniest, or most innovative, but it is great nonetheless for its charm and consistent level of quality. It won’t take as long for me to reconnect next time.