Torino, MI (June 2014)

Over the past four years, dining in Michigan has often proved to be a trying ordeal, boasting all of the appeal of an hour-long Al Sharpton show. And so it was with modest expectations that a friend and I made reservations to the Detroit Free Press’s restaurant of the year, Torino.  

As is the case with most Michigan restaurants, our server was unpolished, but in an impishly charming way. I would liken our interaction to parents watching their child’s recital: it’s objectively awful yet one remains encouraging throughout.  

Service notwithstanding, amid the nine courses we were served, there were some genuinely delicious preparations, but all too often they were compromised by head-scratchingly out-of-place items. It was tantamount to trying to take a class photo yet the class clown keeps sticking up his middle finger, ruining the picture. The penultimate savory course, for example, featured tender Mangalista pork belly, but also pickled mustard seeds and tamarind-laced pork shoulder so astringent I was forced to leave almost all of it on the plate. And a revelatory violet sorbet with moist chocolate cake and flexible chocolate ganache for some reason also included a scoop of inedible jalapeno sorbet. 

Ultimately, though, despite the aforementioned quibbles—and I’m probably culpable for moving the goal post on this one (it is Michigan, after all)—the food showed promise, and I wouldn’t be opposed to returning when their tasting menu changes.

Here are all the photos from the meal: https://www.flickr.com/photos/82765022@N03/sets/72157644823041909/

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