Dimes is a comfortable neighborhood joint serving up a varied menu at affordable prices.
By Mitch Weinstein.
It goes something like this, the scene at an L.A. restaurant on the boulevard…
Waiter: “What will you be having, sir?”
Alvy (looking sorta askance at the menu): “I’ll have the alfalfa sprouts and mashed yeast.”
I’m sure you know that’s from one of Woody Allen’s finest movies, Annie Hall, and if you’ve never seen it, just…oy. C’mon – it won 4 Oscars including best picture, best director and best actress. See it sometime.
Where does that bring me? Oh yeah, Dimes, a cute brand-spanking-new little place that hovers at the triangle formed where Division meets Canal – the lower, lower east side – aka Chinatown. There’s the requisite semi-legal bus stop, a newly opened tattoo parlor right next door (the neighborhood’s happening like crazy right now) and also some scaffolding – why not.
Back to Woody, Annie Hall, and that L.A. California scene. When I first looked at Dimes’ menu, I thought of the alfalfa sprouts/mashed yeast line, as stuff like herbed barley, spiced quinoa, chia seeds, acai bowls and wilted kale all appear. I said to Significant Eater as we decided at our tiny two-top: this place could be on Potrero Hill in San Francisco just as comfortably as it sits on Division…which is fine by me.
I breathed a sigh of relief as I dug a little deeper into the menu – there’s bacon and sausage to be found, and breakfast is served all day. The breakfast sandwich the guy at the next table had looked good – and in my future – but today we were having lunch. Sig Eater wanted the chilled noodles with that wilted kale plus eggplant, mango, chili, basil and for a supplement of $2, a hard-boiled egg…
It hit the spot, and $2 for that perfectly cooked egg is ok by me. Both the bowls and The Big Salad are available vegetarian like, or you can pick a protein to add to your what-starts-out-as-vegetarian bowl and make it even better. Another protein (yes, it’s a menu category) available yesterday was house-pickled salmon, with cucumber and a green-grape jalapeño relish. It actually rocked…
I paired the salmon with one of their two tartines; an almost-a-puree of spicy beet spread atop some good toasted bread and topped with slices of that perfect hard boiled egg, dill and microgreens. Calling Annie!
To drink, a cayenne lemonade, good for the sinuses I kept telling myself…it was spicy hot but it could’ve been a little lemony-er and a little sweeter too. Much better was Sig Eater’s perfect cold-brew, made from Cafe Integral’s tasty Nicaraguan beans. A brown-sugar cube (demerara, of course) at the bottom and you’re having a coffee old-fashioned.
I love this place. It’s practically across the street. Can’t wait to go back to try that breakfast sandwich, and they have a lunch set priced at $12.50 – pick a protein and two of their 3 daily vegetable offerings. Friday they were doing a brisk take-out biz, and Saturday they were packed when we walked by going to and from NY Noodletown – hey, a guy’s gotta have his roast pork too, you know.
Go? I don’t think there’s a need to rush because I’m sure they’re gonna be here for a long time. For us, on the lower, lower east side, Dimes is just what the neighborhood ordered.