Green Restaurant Review

Dakota goes green

by Michael Oshman

n that midwinter night, I strolled the streets of the Gaslamp District. The moist air was pregnant with notes of jazz and blues, reminiscent of an older era. Walking the streets of my new office neighborhood, I felt like I was roaming the streets of New Orleans. The aroma of food wafting from the many restaurants meeting the musical notes, combined with all the people-watching, made for a delightful downtown experience.

I felt sated, as I had just dined at Dakota Bar and Grill located on the corner of 5th and E. St., a feast of tastes and comfort. Garlic is king when I cook, so I like to honor it when I dine out. Starters included roasted garlic, served with caramelized onions on a gorgonzola pizza bread. A small fork was provided to harvest the garlic that spreads like butter. I sampled the black bean linguine with dried tomatoes, artichoke hearts, broccoli florets, garlic oil (of course), and fresh Parmesan. The taste was fresh, delightful, and simple not too heavy or too light. I sampled my dining companion's grilled seasonal vegetable pizza with fresh tomato herb sauce, mozzarella and fresh basil. Sprinkled with fresh veggies, the pizza was a sample of Dakota's good food. A dessert that knocked my socks off was a Mexican chocolate pate with vanilla ice cream: a rich fudge with toasted pecans, cinnamon, and kahlua.

What was unforgettable was the service. Kip, who had been working at Dakota for many years, made our dining experience. The service was prompt. Kip delivered whatever we ordered promptly and with grace, even when we ask for something special. His descriptions of the food demonstrated that he enjoyed the food and what he was doing.

The kitchen, with a wood fired oven, is open for all to see, and it was quite exciting to watch the chefs. Piano music fills the restaurant Wednesday through Saturday.

Dakota became a Green Restaurant this month by eliminating all their styrofoam. They are committed to GRA's environmental steps including waste reduction, full-scale recycling, and using recycled products. Lunches are 11:30-2:30 Mon-Fri Dinners start at 5pm every night.

Enjoy a stroll in the Gaslamp and an enjoyable dining experience at Dakota Grill, (619) 234-5554.

  Michael Oshman is Director of the Green Restaurant Association and may be reached at or (619) 287-4261.