Picture this dear readers.  It’s Christmas morning from my youth, I think it was 2017.  The family is gathered in the living room of my parents’ house, eating, drinking, and being merry.  Every year Mom and Dad would say, “No gifts this year, we’re cutting back”.  No gifts simply means it takes them only three months to pay off their bills vs. six.  After dinner, Dad proclaims he has a special gift for me.  He hands me a bag with two items inside, one was long and kind of soft, intriguing.  It wasn’t a book, or clothing, nor was it a DVD (yes, we had those back then)… what could it be?

As I slowly unwrapped it, the excitement in the room was electrifying.  The gift finally presented itself in all its glory.  That S.O.B. gave me a loaf of bread.  It wasn’t like I was hoping to get a “Red Ryder BB Gun with a compass in the stock, and this thing which tells time”.  It was not going to shoot my eye out, it was only going to raise my bad cholesterol.  But apparently I rushed to judgement, for when I opened the second item from the bag, the true spirit of Christmas filled the room.  It was a quart of the RED DIPPING SAUCE from Mario’s.  I could hear the angel choir singing!  It’s so tough to describe the taste, the only adjective that comes to mind is heavenly.  Best gift I have ever received.  Mario’s does more than make great Christmas gifts… they serve dinner 7 days weeks at 560 Main Street, Winsted, CT.

You know that a restaurant must be good if the dipping sauce for the bread causes your taste buds to dance with joy.  And Mario’s never disappoints.  The restaurant was started almost 20 years ago by two brothers from Eastern Europe, but they have perfected Italian cuisine.  They have an appetizer on their menu that I haven’t found anywhere else, and it is soooo, luscious – they call it Spedini.  It’s fried mozzarella topped with sautéed mushrooms, garlic, capers, and chopped prosciutto in a burgundy sauce.  We will all pause for 5 seconds so those reading this spotlight on their cell phones can wipe the drool off their screen.

The appetizer or, as I like to call it, the opening credits, was followed by the main feature.  I ordered the Veal Napolitano.  The veal was topped with eggplant and mozzarella cheese and sautéed in a vodka blush sauce.  I know what you’re thinking… that sounds amazing.  Dear readers, I can tell you it was even better then you are envisioning.  These ingredients go together better than Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers.  (Extra credit if you can name what they were famous for.)

Mario’s Tuscany Grill & Bar will soon be world famous for being the restaurant that is closest to the Little Red Barn Brewery.  Only time will tell how long they can retain this title.  In just a short 4-minute walk you can pick up your food and skip back to the brewery.  Seems to me that Mario’s and Little Red Barn Brewers go together like peanut butter and jelly.

Stay tuned dear readers for future Spotlights.  Until then…