As I just finished writing my praise for Luciano DelSignore for his newest accolade at his Bacco Ristorante, I just have to write about the restaurant where we first met. My Bride and I had just bought our house and were in a discovery mode about new restaurants in the area. I remember our first visit to Fonte D’Amore.
The restaurant was just packed with diners, and as usual I met a couple of people that I knew, my Bride had already gotten used to this fact, that the odds are that I will meet someone where ever we go. We had a great waiter; in fact, he was so great, that we would always request to be seated in his area, when ever we returned to the restaurant, as he added so much to the ambience to the evening. In fact, it was our waiter that made it a point to bring Luciano to our table, so that we could meet him and introduce ourselves.
Fonte D’Amore was a great neighborhood Italian restaurant, but as we continued to go there, at least once a month, if not more, we gradually saw how the menu was changing ever so slightly under the tutelage of Luciano, as he made slight tweaks to his Father’s restaurant. The food kept getting better and better, and no matter who joined us for dinner, they were always amazed at the quality of the food and service. Some people would even remark that they were not in a Detroit restaurant, but it was more of a downtown Chicago or midtown Manhattan type of establishment, and yet they were popular priced and really gave you a meal for your money.
That first encounter with Luciano, I asked him what wine he thought we should try, which can be a dangerous question, as you could end up ordering a very expensive bottle of wine. He emphatically suggested a Montepulciano d’Abruzzo, which was a new wine for me. He also suggested that I try the Riparosso from the several wines of that area, which he carried. The wine is made from the Montepulciano varietal, but tends to be blended with the Sangiovese grape as well. In fact the area around Abruzzo is so associated with this varietal; the DOC for the area is now Montepulciano d’Abruzzo. It was such a hit, that after that first evening, we went to a wine shop and bought a case of the wine, it was that good, and we have been buying it ever since. It is also a wine that I will suggest to people who ask me for a recommendation for a new idea for an Italian wine. I joke as I write the name down that even though it is a mouthful to say, they will enjoy it, and that it is not an expensive wine even with a restaurant mark-up. So one could say, that Luciano has been an integral part of my learning curve for some time, and I thank him each time that I see him.