It was a bittersweet night for us, as we met up with our daughter and two of her boys before they went back home. We finally made it work for El Barzon, as the first time there was a black out in that part of the city, and that night it was interesting to see if “Driving in Detroit” would honor a blinking red-light intersection as a four way stop corner. It kind of worked, but one had to be careful of the extra “half car” that was going to push their way through the intersection, because they were more important than the other drivers on the road. I still kind of get amazed that this restaurant is now considered part of Southwest Detroit, because when I was growing up, that area was not considered it at all, but I know that I am splitting hairs, but boundaries have always been up for gerrymandering. The last night it worked and we were going to have dinner there. My thought was that I knew that they liked Italian food and I knew that they like Mexican (Tex-Mex) food, so it was a win-win situation.
El Barzon is a very unique restaurant just from the cuisines offered. The chef/owner came from Mexico with some of the great dishes from his region and he was a chef at one of the finest Italian restaurants that was in the Detroit area for some time; so, consequently he is excellent in both types of foods and that is what he offers. I really figured that my grandsons would go with the Mexican dishes, because they like that so much when we are visiting them, but they decided to go with the Italian side of the menu. Of course, my Favorite Daughter can rewrite any menu out there, and I kind of cringe to think how coddled she has made the boys in regards to the food offered in the real world, thankfully the odds are that I will not be taking them to the French Laundry. My Bride and I made it a bit easier on our waitress with orders that had no substitutions, though I have to admit that I have made some menu alterations over the years. My Bride had Spaghetti Puttanesca with Anchovies, Black Olives, Capers, Onions and a Tomato Sauce, while I always try to have a veal dish, because it is something we have never made at home; so I had Scaloppini al Barolo e Porcini, a Veal Scaloppini sautéed in a sauce of Barolo wine and Porcini Mushrooms. The youngsters all had room for dessert afterwards as well.
As you may imagine, a thirst developed at least for my Bride and myself, as my Favorite Daughter was having pop, and probably something stronger later that evening when she got with her friends. I selected a Nebbiolo from the Piedmont, namely Renato Ratti Marcenasco Barolo 2013. Renato Ratti began by making Vermouth and Sparkling wines in Brazil, before going back to his homeland and purchasing property in the Piedmont in 1965 and now has eighty-five acres of vineyards in his estate, spread over different properties. Renato Ratti Winery offers three different single-vineyard Barolos all with cru status and they are Marcenasco, Conca and Rocche dell’Annuziata. The first vintage for the Marcenasco Vineyard was 1965, so, by now the vines have maturity to them, but there are ancient records showing that Nebbiolo was planted and growing in the Marcenasco region since the Twelfth Century. The wines from this vineyard are aged in oak for two years before being bottled and I think the sweet spot for opening a bottle would be eight to ten years. Just a nice heady wine that delivered some terroir and a little licorice in the finish. One doesn’t have to be a genius to select a Nebbiolo based wine to go with a fine Italian dinner. It may be awhile before we see the Las Vegas clan for a while, as we may be going later, as there is a rumor that some Bride wants to throw a graduation party for our oldest grandson next year.