Danny Raskin: Dining Al Fresco
Café Cortina’s patio getting ready to welcome spring.
Outdoor dining might be as old as Adam and Eve … She wouldn’t have been much of a hostess if Eve didn’t once in a while invite good ol’ Adam to share an apple while sitting on a rock under some tree.
In today’s world, restaurant owners who can have patios and don’t are missing out on a lot of business and many happier customers … The healthful and comfort qualities are invaluable … Those able to provide any kind of patio, large or small, with lamps, heat pits, etc., may be doing a big favor for their customers and themselves … The value of outdoor dining to many is priceless.
Café Cortina, 10 Mile, east of Orchard Lake Road, Farmington Hills, is highly notable as magnificently beautiful and starry-eyed-looking to many who adore the award-winning outdoor patio that was originally just a large flower garden after Rina Tonon and her late husband, Adriano, took over the location in 1976 … Rina later coveted the space and always wanted to create a beautiful hideaway for romantic dining … designed as an Italian escape like so many enjoy today in Italy … Many of the original trees have been left in place … and later she added a lovely stone fireplace that would resemble the feel of rustic places Rina and Adriano enjoyed when they lived in Italy during their youth.
Today, outdoor patios are used for all occasions … romantic engagements, receptions and everyday dining … serving exceptional foods like that at Café Cortina … Amid other awards, House Beautiful magazine selected it among America’s most romantic.
Now comes still another wonderful outdoor appointment added by Rina … She has also included an outdoor patio sector with soft-cushioned seating for people waiting to be seated on the much-acclaimed dining, drinking and ultra-styled patio … Where folks may have a drink or whatever to enjoy the wonderful dining offerings of the day by chef Jeffrey Hoffman and his sous chef Louis Ciscernos … both graduates of the Culinary Institute of America at Hyde Park, N.Y.
And wonderful al fresco dining is taking another step with the much-acclaimed outdoor covered terrace at Steven Lelli’s Inn On the Green, 12 Mile Road, just west of Halsted, Farmington Hills, which is utilized 12 months a year … It was once just an outdoor porch, but now the almost 200 seating capacity is within the confines of true elegance … Television screens all over, nonslip stone flooring, beautiful draperies, portable dance floor as needed for occasions, fire pits, etc. … Even tall heat lamps when desired … with excellent food, too.
But all outdoor dining locales … large or small … serve many desired purposes … not the least is their access for the numerous patrons who sometimes travel to warmer climates to avail themselves of this much-wanted dining delight.
ABOUT STEVEN LELLI’S Inn On the Green, by the way … Date has been set to honor the wonderful Checker Bar-Q of yesteryears … It’ll be Monday, June 4, 5-11 p.m. … Steven Lelli’s is usually closed on Mondays but will open for this excellent tribute.
EARLY THIS MAY is hoped-for completion of George Lukaj’s fifth restaurant … Station Square … at the former site of Papa Vino’s on Coolidge, South of 15 Mile (Maple), Troy … The new 240-seat Station Square, a free-standing restaurant edifice, will open in Troy’s Midtown Square Center and in front of the Troy Transit Center that deposits people coming into the city … It’ll join others in the big outdoor patio boom with two … one for 35 and one for 100.
SO MANY TIMES numerous people keep wondering and asking why a food law has never been passed to make it mandatory that true sirloin beef is used in menus that say sirloin beef in chopped sirloin … Many people may remember when Ben Kasle and his Berman’s Chop House on Times Square, Detroit, used to have his cooks cut off the corners of sirloin steaks and put them into electric grinders to make his true chopped sirloins.
REVIEW MIRROR … When Wally Kostere owned a dance license for more than 20 years but never put in dancing at his Kostere’s restaurant!
OLDIE BUT GOODIE … The husband came home one night slightly inebriated and handed his wife his pay envelope. She opened it, looked inside and shouted, “This is only part of your salary. Where’s the rest of it?”
“I bought some things for the house,” he said.
“How nice,” she smiled. “What did you buy?”
The slightly tipsy hubby replied, “A couple rounds of (hic) drinks.”
CONGRATS … To Dharlene Norris on her birthday … To Leslie Pardo on her birthday … To Nancy Hearshen on her 75th birthday.
Danny’s email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.