Cravings: Detroit Seafood Market's Leonardo Vultaggio & Little Z's BBQ's Ed Firestine
Their stylish menus are enticing enough to attract a loyal clientele of discriminating diners, but no matter how expert they are, restaurant people like to take a break from their own kitchens for a taste of someone else’s cooking
> “My wife and I like going to Steve and Rocky’s for dinner,” says LEONARDO VULTAGGIO, chef/proprietor of the DETROIT SEAFOOD MARKET. “I first met Rocky in the early 1980s when I interviewed for a job at the Pontchartrain Hotel. I’ve known Steve from my work with the American Culinary Federation and, of course, the days of the Golden Mushroom. Steve and Rocky’s is the only place I know I can still find Chef Milos’ amazing mushroom soup.”
Vultaggio says he likes the sampling of three soups, because one is always the famous mushroom. Other favorite dishes are perch with hazelnuts, short ribs of beef with burgundy gravy, and the desserts. “All of them are made at the restaurant and always an artful presentation,” he says. “You just don’t find restaurants who take food to this level any more.” For a simple breakfast, the Vultaggios like Mark’s Coney Island in Rochester Hills, where they enjoy a fresh ham-and-cheese omelet.
> ED FIRESTINE, longtime restaurateur and co-proprietor of LITTLE Z’s BBQ in St. Clair Shores, says he’s a huge fan of sushi and Thai food. When he can get away, he stops by Sy Thai in St. Clair Shores for their tom yum soup, with its “nice balance of lemongrass and spices.” Blufin Sushi in Grosse Pointe Farms is another favorite of Firestine’s. He enjoys their urchin, yellowtail, and tuna but usually leaves it up to the sushi maker’s discretion to serve him what he thinks is best. “I usually get the chef’s choice,” Firestine says. “I have faith in the chef.”