Danny Raskin: Touches Of Italy
Plymouth’s Cantoro Italian Market & Trattoria does double duty.
The concepts themselves might have had meager acceptance at their beginnings many years ago but, like well-watered plants, many have grown heartily with much global recognition.
However, numerous so-called market-restaurant combinations may have failed because of having market knowledge but also a lack of much-needed restaurant know-how.
Locally, the 55,000-square-foot Cantoro Italian Market & Trattoria, North Haggerty, between 5 and 6 Mile, Plymouth, only in its fourth year, is easily noted among the better double-headers that have met with much great success.
It not only affords visitors an opportunity to peruse fine Italian specialty products seldom if ever seen anywhere … but also, too, the lunch or dinner enjoyments of an attached private sit-down trattoria (restaurant) with previously unseen menu items plus house-made sausage, grilled shrimp appetizers, pastas, filets, veal, salmon, etc., and 15 hand-made pizzas from all-natural, never-frozen, dough made fresh daily.
The trattoria, serving excellent Italian cuisine, is a one-of-its kind offering that includes generous portions to make for enjoyable dining and, if needed, a major market shopping experience … Cantoro’s restaurant sector is usually crowded at dinner time and lighter at lunch … serving the customary Italian fare plus food seen only at the finest restaurants of Rome or Tuscany like Carpaccio di Salmone, Linguine alla Pescatore, etc. … My much-heralded Saltimbocca alla Romana couldn’t have been better.
Important, too, is that at both the market and restaurant general manager/certified sommelier Alex Bazzy is an Italian market know-how gent and restaurant personage with all-important much-needed dining knowledge … It is quite a thrill to have someone as knowledgeable as Alex Bazzy to also guide diners to perfect pairings of wine and menu selections, if desired … Being a recipient of Wine Spectator’s 2017 Award of Excellence, Cantoro Trattoria also boasts a downstairs wine cellar with more than 2,000 bottles of exotic vintages.
The restaurant, which has seemingly redefined Italian dining with its rich and distinctive menu, is reached by a short elevator ride to a beautiful setting that many drive for miles to enjoy … Seating is for more than 100 plus another 15 at the always-crowded bar … Plus a well-appointed 60-seat outdoor patio.
With fair prices and smiling staff, Cantoro’s restaurant menu reads like a veritable map of Italy … taking patrons to Sicily, etc., for its antipasti selections from Executive Chef Anthony Calabrese, whose high talents include grilled Calamari alla Griglia and Italy’s mainland coast favorite Finocchio e Arancia (orange and fennel) salad … continuing to its hands-down most popular dish, Tagliatelle alla Bolognese with house-made Tagliatelle pasta and traditional meat sauce of ground veal, beef, sausage and pancetta.
The panini selection includes a variety of hard-crusted breads made in Cantoro’s own on-premise downstairs bakery, house-made soups, including a magnificent minestrone, and entrees like Gorgonzola Ribeye steak or grilled Mediterranean Sea Bass … along with excellent house-made gelato, cannoli and tiramisu.
Dining hours are Monday-Saturday, 11-2 lunch, dinner 4:30-10, Sunday 11-4.
The magnitude of an experience such as that afforded by Cantoro Italian Market & Trattoria in Plymouth is with few equals … The main dining room and accompanying sectors for private parties are choice … Certainly a most enjoyable market and dining adventure with good reason for it to be so very highly cherished.
REARVIEW MIRROR …
When James Beard, one of America’s top dining-out authors, said, “Our best United States restaurant cities are New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Detroit,” he had visited 50 states before making this statement … When TV travel international gourmet George Pierrot dined in more than 110 countries and island groups, including every large U.S. city, he agreed with Beard, pointing particularly to Detroit’s generous supply of ethnic eateries.
MANY FOLKS WILL agree that there is much good chili being served in the Metropolitan Detroit area …
From Leo’s Coney Island, American and Lafayette Coney Islands, National Coney Island, etc. … But most would take a backseat to the chili served at Anderson’s Gardens years ago, owned by Harry and Ruth Levenberg … It was made by Ruth herself, and whatever she put in to make it so good that folks came from everywhere for its yummy taste, she would never tell … even to her best friends and maybe Harry, too.
OLDIE BUT GOODIE …
The small-town general practice doctor and his wife finally took a well-earned vacation after many years … Their son had graduated medical school and was given his dad’s practice to run while they were gone … On their return, the father asked him how everything went …
“Great, Dad! Remember that skin irritation Mrs. Schwartz had that you couldn’t get rid of? I cured it for her!”
“What? You fool!” screamed his angered father. “Who do you think put you through college!?”
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To Keri Guten Cohen on her birthday … To Bernice Abrams on her birthday … To Irving Taselman on his 21st birthday.
Danny’s email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.