At one time one of the hottest restaurants in the Metro Detroit area was The Spaghetti Company and they had a couple of locations. These were very spacious restaurants with good classic dishes that one would expect from an eatery with that name. They were always busy, with a good chance that there might be a waiting period to get a table. Naturally the bar was always busy and conversations were lively.
I remember ordering the gnocchi with a Bolognese sauce, as this is how I usually test a “pasta joint.” If the gnocchi is light and fluffy, it tells me the pride and artistry of the restaurant, if it is heavy I usually presume that it is commercially bought frozen pasta and it will keep me from returning. They passed the test as I recall and that made me very happy.
In those early days as I have stated before, most restaurants did not want to develop large wine lists, especially if they carried mostly Italian dishes. They carried a few “names” and a few known and tested grape varietals. I went with a basic Chianti Classico from Brolio (Barone Ricasoli) still one of the big wineries of the Chianti region, and they are being rediscovered today with a new family member now running the show. One of my basic tenets when picking a wine from a limited list is to go with a traditional wine of the cuisine if possible and hope for the best. It worked very well in this instance.