One never knows what will invoke memories. Since I just wrote about the Restaurants of the Year, as reported by one of our daily papers, I got my memory working again. As I lament that matchbooks no longer are a staple “give-away” sometimes one needs a prodding from other sources, such as Cuisine, a very fine restaurant on the back side of the Fisher Theater in the New Center section of Detroit. The Fisher Theater is one of our grand institutions to see theatrical productions in the Detroit area and for years we maintained season tickets, which alas we have given up, as it was harder and harder to get another couple to join us. I remember the first time we went to Cuisine, as we tied the dinner into seeing Neil Simon’s Laughter on the 23’rd Floor, his comedic take on the days when he wrote for Sid Caesar during the glory days of television in the Fifties of the last century. As I went searching for the Stage magazine for this play, as I do like showing visuals with my articles, I also reread the magazine. I knew that Howard Hesseman was the star of the production, but when I looked at the cast, I was surprised to see that an actor that was born in Grosse Pointe, Michigan was part of the supporting cast. This actor is J.K. Simmons who two years ago received the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor and I just found this fact to be cool. He has also become a regular guest on one of the local talk shows that I listen to, especially when he can lend something for one of the many fund raising projects that are a hallmark of the Detroit area in times of concern and empathy.
As for Cuisine that evening we enjoyed a wonderful meal. We started off by sharing a cold Charcuterie plate of Duck Liver Pate, a Country Pate and a Seafood Pate with the proper accompanying sides, and you may notice that my Bride and I often share an appetizer, especially when it is rich, and may account for the reason that my physician is always admonishing me about my slightly above the “norm” cholesterol numbers. For our entrée dinners my Bride went with sautéed Lake Perch as she is very partial to fish, and I opted for Beef Tenderloin and Beef Short Ribs with Horseradish potatoes. After dinner we had coffee and sherbet as we went with something light after the fine meal, and didn’t want to be over sated before we went to watch the play.
Of course we enjoyed a bottle of wine with our meal, and we opted for a Super Tuscan, which was not as popular of an item then, as it is today. We had a bottle of Avignonesi Grifi 1993. Avignonesi is a fine winemaker from the Montepulciano area of Italy. This bottle was listed back then as Vino da Tavola Rosso di Toscana, which roughly translates as Red Table Wine from Tuscany, and you will notice that is predates the Toscana IGT designation that we now see so often for red wines from this district that are blended with varietals not indigenous to the area. In this case the wine was a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Sangiovese; Sangiovese is the work horse of the district. It was such a delightful wine, but I know that it was overpowering for my Bride’s entrée, but she will endure the juxtaposition of red wines with her fish, knowing that a white wine would not compliment my beef choice, and she has really found an appreciation for big red wines. See what happens when something triggers my memory banks and I finally search for all the pieces for a great evening.