Most restaurants have multiple entrée choices, but what happens when you go some place where they offer two distinct gourmet ethnic concepts. I mean when you go to a steak house, you only have to choose from the different cuts of meat. You go to a nice bistro and you choose from some French dishes that they are preparing. My Bride wanted to go to El Barzon for dinner after we saw the Star Trek exhibit at The Henry Ford. I had no problem with her choice, the problem was which menu should we choose from. The owner and chef at El Barzon is steeped in the culinary arts of his region in Mexico, but he was also a chef at a lauded Italian restaurant Il Posto that I have written an article about. You see when you go to El Barzon half of the menu has Mexican dishes, and not the typical Tex-Mex choices that most people associate as being Mexican, and the other half is Italian, and not just a pasta-house. First you have to decide which menu and then you have to decide on the one of the tempting choices. Trust me, I know how eclectic it sounds. I was telling our waiter that I grew up just a few miles from El Barzon and he said that he gets quite a few diners that were originally from the area. He told me how he had moved his family to the area near the restaurant as they were from Chicago, and I told him how the area at one time was all Polish-Americans, way back when the immigrants came to America to find a job and a new life, they settled in pockets around Detroit, where the soon to become second language was their first language. He was telling me that the church his family attends in the neighborhood performs a mass in English, a mass in Spanish and still a mass in Polish. El Barzon is in the perfect setting.
I am not sure what the building the restaurant is in, was originally designed for, but they have taken advantage of it, and have a perfect semi-enclosed large patio area which is also great for the barbecue and for some big parties. We were taken into the main restaurant and once seated we were given a bowl of freshly prepared nacho chips with two distinct bowls of salsa. So maybe for the neighborhood, the one menu takes precedence. We both decided that we wanted to choose from the Italian menu, especially since they had some interesting wines on the carte, that tickled our fancy over the unique selection of Tequila that they offered. My Bride had an Italian version of Surf & Turf, a Filet with Prawns in a Red-wine reduction sauce. I had one of the specials of the evening veal done in a Barolo Sauce. Both of our dishes came with Broccoli and Parmesan Roasted Potatoes. How many fancy restaurants, let alone neighborhood eateries also offer fresh truffles to compliment the dishes? I was in heaven. We finished with some Cappuccino and a very rich slice of Chocolate cake that we shared.
I had already mentioned that we had passed on the exotic Tequila drinks and had settled on having wine with our dinner. We went with a bottle from Masi Agricola a wine producer of note in the Veneto region of northern Italy. They are known for their Valpolicella and especially their Amarone wines. The Boscaini family named the estate after the Vaio de Masi valley that was part of the original holdings. They now own property in several different districts and an assortment of different wine styles. They also began in the 1950’s of creating single “cru” vineyards for some of their Amarone wines. They are also known to be experimental with fermentation, oak barrels and different clones, just to see what they can do. We had the Masi Campofiorin Rosso del Veronese IGT 2014, this wine is usually listed as Ripasso, but this was their special Fiftieth Anniversary. This wine was originally created as a “Supervenetian” in 1964, inspired by the same production methods used for Amarone. The wine is a blend of Corvina, Rondinella and Molinara. A pretty dark red wine that offered cherries and spice and then delivered the same with soft tannins and a nice long finish; a perfect wine for both of our dinners.
Sounds like a unique restaurant. The wine sounded good, too!
Becky, it was the perfect way to end the day, and the wine was delicious. If you can find it, it would be worth the effort and it is affordable, even to a retiree like myself. – John