Assaggi Mediterranean Bistro lamb chops

Assaggi Mediterranean Bistro marks milestone.

Driving around looking for a location to put their dream, Josie Knapp and George Gize knew that money was scarce and a lavish restaurant by them would be out of the question.

While driving along the not-yet-fully developed Nine Mile Road, west of Woodward locale, they saw a little site with a for sale sign in front.

George Gize and Josie Knapp of Assaggi Mediterranean Bistro.
George Gize and Josie Knapp

George and Josie had vowed to someday own their own restaurant and a wonderful appearance suddenly took light-bulb shape … It was the beginning of a happy vision that would come true.

They will never forget the date … and so May 11 is that much coveted time when they opened what was to become a major destination for many to enjoy … the dream of owning their own Assaggi Mediterranean Bistro … Nine Mile Road just west of Woodward, Ferndale.

Their wonderful Assaggi, open for dinner only, Tuesdays through Thursday, 5 p.m.-9:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday to 11 p.m. … with the cozy 96 seating for some of the better presentations of house-made gnocchi sautéed with a wild mushroom cream sauce, double-cooked Moroccan duck legs, the ever-popular chicken Francese, grilled lamb chops, etc. … and four bar stools … An inviting feature is an open kitchen that displays a large wood-fired oven … The soft elegance of cleanliness includes walls with modern artwork created by local artists.

Lentil pancakes at Assaggi Mediterranean BistroThis combination of Italian country, French and touch of Lebanese combine to bring wonderful dishes that also include their own version of the highly popular Cioppino seafood stew with lobster, mussels, shrimp, Israeli couscous, basil pesto, etc., in a choice tomato broth … upscale dining at reasonable prices. Prior to the luscious dinner, you might want to have some vegetarian grape leaves or Prince Edward Island mussels … or a chopped or full-bodied lettuce wedge with red onion, bacon, eggs and a blue cheese dressing … and don’t be surprised to see lentil pancakes with a sherry mushroom sauce and beet chips for an appetizer.

Josie and George are the kind of folks that people enjoy … Always smiling and greeting people with highly gracious welcomes to their dream come true … You won’t find too many like them … or the clean, gracious dining menu presentations … than those at their highly-touted Assaggi Mediterranean Bistro on its 18th birthday.

WHEN DINING OUT, do not leave tip money or whatever on the table … It is many times taken or reduced by others … Most experienced servers appreciate this.

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FROM THE TIME he left Detroit for Las Vegas in his Volkswagen Beetle, former localite Bob Anderson, world-famous impressionist who will do “Frank. The Man. The Music” at Detroit Opera House … Saturday, June 16, 8 p.m. … will also astound attendees with his amazing transformation into a Frank Sinatra look-like … It takes two hours for the change by Kazu Tsuji, this year’s Academy Award-winner for his work on Darkest Hour, the film about Winston Churchill starring Gary Oldman … Then Bob does the rest … the posture, the walk, the smile, the mannerisms and the voice.

Bob, by the way, comes from a family locally of legendary piano players … Three uncles, Jimmy Stevenson was musical director for Soupy Sales at WXYZ-TV … Danny Stevenson, a fine jazz pianist … and Bobby Stevenson, among the best on those ivories … Also, his cousin Billy Stevenson, noted cocktail key tickler who many will recall playing for a number of Bob’s singing gigs here.

“I saw Bob Anderson at the Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas and was blown away by his show two days in a row. I thought I was watching Frank Sinatra himself,” says Joe Vicari, whose Andiamo Restaurants are bringing him in.

Detroit Opera House holds 2,700 people and tickets are going fast … Looks like a sellout … Call Detroit Opera House or Ticketmaster.

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TWO VARIED DINING operation styles for Nino and Liz Cutraro … Their ultra-fine Bella Piatta restaurant on Townsend, Birmingham, and the opening of their fourth Wahlburger eatery with a gala shindig in Taylor … In the works for them, too, is Beaumont Hospital’s new addition coming in Royal Oak, and in London, England … Movie star Mark Wahlberg certainly picked a wonderful couple as partners in carrying on his family name.

SO GOOD TO finally see traditional noodles appearing in more chicken soup being served … Those little pasta twirls or whatever are not so frequent … thank heavens!

OLDIE BUT GOODIE Shorties … The hotels in Las Vegas are so elegant, the waitresses, waiters and busboys all look important. Why not? Last week they were customers … Newlywed man to friends, “My wife treats me like a Greek god. She keeps giving me burnt offerings.” … The bum asked a fellow, “Give me $10 till payday.” “When is payday?” asked the gent. “I don’t know,” said the bum. “You’re the one working!”

CONGRATS … To Eleanor Sims on her birthday … To Drs. Scott Sircus and wife, Linda, on their 33rd anniversary.

Danny’s email address is

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