Trattoria Funistrada – Maple City, Michigan
Here’s some ace dining advice for Metro Detroit vacationers to keep up their sleeve until they next find themselves in M-22-land, soaking in the summer heat and fun of Traverse City and the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore: Trattoria Funistrada at 4566 West MacFarlane Road in Maple City, Michigan. At this secluded and intimate Italian bistro you’ll return to a time when going out for dinner was an event, a special occasion, well worth the extra effort its remote location requires. In fact, you’ll only heighten your party’s anticipation with a lengthy but casual pre-meal drive from your Traverse City hotel, through the gorgeous Northwestern Lower Michigan countryside at twilight. Pass it off as ‘experience augmentation’ should anyone complain about the distance, because, hey, that’s what it is.
Once inside and seated start your multi-course extravaganza of succulence with a hearty bread service featuring delicious sourdough and baguette from 9 Bean Rows bakery in Northport, Michigan. Pair your carbs with an equally hearty glass of Cabernet Sauvignon from the Bennett Family Reserve in California. If you crave a nice mess of greens before your main dish, Funistrada’s Classic Caesar Salad, House Ante-pasto Salad, and Warm Beets with Goat Cheese Salad all earned our unqualified recommendation, without a single stale crouton, bitter leaf or over-dressing among them.
It was the ultra-straightforward simplicity of Funistrada’s entrées, however, that ruled our evening. Choose from an excellent everyday selection of traditional Italian favorites and distinctive nightly specials including our party’s five first-rate preparations: Cheese-stuffed Tortellini with cream, peas, bacon, red onion and white wine, Braised Veal ‘Half Moon’ Ravioli in Marinara, Veal Saltimbocca with prosciutto, mozzarella, Parmesan and mushroom Marsala sauce, Veal Piccata with capers in lemon white wine sauce, and of course, the all-time most important number one standard for Italian restaurants worldwide, Spaghetti with Meatballs. Hyperbolic-ally speaking, each meal was a soulful, revelatory and near-religious experience in its own right, but Trattoria Funistrada took this, the most basic and quintessential of Italian dishes, and hit it out of the park. Like, twice.
I Love Detroit Michigan ate family style on this night and we feel completely obligated to tell y’all that every member of our five-person party sampled every main course on the table, and we kid our readers not with this seemingly implausible claim: every diner at our table agreed that every main dish was fantastic or better, but that their’s was the very best of them all. To put it simply, Funistrada stays true to the classics. If you’re familiar with Italian standards, you’ll know what you’re getting when you order your favorite. We’d love to tell you all about some killer canoli, spumoni or gelato we shared for dessert, but not one among us had the constitution or fortitude necessary to eat another bite. Be rest assured, however, that you’ll be able to wash it all down with an ice cold bottle of Peroni.
The spot in the kitchen where other bistros desperately lunge at singular uniqueness is, in our opinion, the same spot where Funistrada slaughters pretense on the altar of basic flavor profiles. This is a place where doing it fancily finishes a close second to doing it right. And it’s popular folks, so always be sure to make a reservation. Always. Seriously. Ask to be waited on by Taryn if she’s available and we’re positive you’ll be more than satisfied with the quality of your service. Don’t forget your wallet. It’s far from cheap ($22 to $42 per entrée) but worth every cent. Count on your family and friends being righteously impressed by your amazing taste when you finally get them here. Smugly lap up the accolades you’re bound to receive upon predictable return visits during the many forthcoming vacation seasons. Do us a major solid and eventually reveal where you heard about it first. You’re welcome. ~I♥DM