Rainsux has been a lonely voice touting Pasta Fagioli at Square Lake & Telegraph, but that’s good enough for me! Not to say, that my deep faith in Rainsux wasn’t tested. I navigated the tough traffic rules and arrived at this unimpressive place lodged between an automatic car wash and a cheap tanning salon. Nothing much to look at, and when I went in, was a “hidden gem” interior revealed to me? No. But I suppose it was homey/cozy. A tall slender ethnic female, that would capture the attention of any guy but go unnoticed by any gal, came to take my order. I was thinking, Rainsux—this better not be the essence of your fondness for the “cuisine” (not putting it past him).
By the way, by “ethnic,” I surely am misusing the term. But, this place seems to be heavily favored by a certain clientele, and being ignorant, I couldn’t put by finger on it. Perhaps a favorite of Arab Jewish folks, or something, I just don’t know. The bottom line for me was that this Italian food place is upscale but serves no alcohol (vino). %^&!*^ !!
Okay, I asked Ms. Ethnic Mascara Dreamgirl for recommendations, since Rainsux hadn’t been specific, and she rattled off THE top three most expensive items available: angel hair pasta with crab meat ($29), salmon ($28), and perch ($28). I think Sir Boagman is on my side here—That’s an insult.
Anywho, this Friday night my wife had taken the kid out to a religious function, so on short notice it was my “Boy night out,” and I wasn’t having any of the no-alcohol funny business. I requested take out, and since I already was starting to get an attitude, I said forget the pricey seafood and veal, just give me some Tyson’s industrial skinless/boneless chicken breast. They packed me a bag containing Italy-mart bread, romaine lettuce with shredded carrot and creamy dressing salad, steamed vegetables, and “Chicken Francese.” ($19 + tax/tip, or $24 total). This initially left me imagining what else I could have done with $24.
I took one last cheap glance at the charming waitress, went home, fired up the DVR, poured myself a proper glass of wine, and tried out the food. The modest-sized, unambitious salad actually was very satisfying. I’m not going to stick my neck out to say others will find it wonderful, but it was perfect for me. Crispy moist carrots and crispy moist romaine, and a subtle homemade(?) creamy dressing. Happiness. The Italian mart bread was fine with me as well.
Steamed veggies: carrots, asparagus, broccoli and water vapor, period. The carrots were slightly overcooked but the green veggies were al dente. Healthy, unadulterated, generously portioned. What’s not to like?
Chicken Francese (from the specials board): perfectly cooked chicken filet (I’m not sayin’ the raw meat they started with was special) with a browned egg-dip crust, capers, lemon-wine sauce, and (previously frozen or canned) artichokes. I’m not very familiar with this dish, so maybe by Chicken Francese standards it was junk, but to me it was delicious. No pieces of sautéed lemon were fancily visible, but there were fresh herbs in the sauce. Loved it, and better yet, it was large enough to fill TWO reasonable people. Now, I just have to lunch on the leftovers tomorrow before my wife spots it in the back corner of the refrigerator…
By and by, some older customer in there with a “fancy” date or wife, got up and walked to a table and introduced himself as “Stephen Ross” and proceeded to give the accommodating man of that table some investment and real estate advice. I was eavesdropping and thinking, “Holy crap, is that the multi-billionaire namesake of the UofM Business School?!” But, when I Google’d Stephen M. Ross, it didn’t really look like the old guy with the fashionable stretchy black t-shirt in Pasta Fagioli. So, maybe he was a wanna be or something (just another person without the luck of having been born the nephew of financier Max Fisher). Regardless, he probably does better than me, so I tip my hat to him.
Well, if you want to take a risk by spending somewhat of a bit on just food, you might be quite satisfied with Pasta Fagioli, as was I and, apparently, Rainsux. Let us know about your experience.