Dinning Out In Michigan

AAA Michigan Living

Ristorante Lino
50 W. Tienken Rd., Rochester

"If you like Italian food, we'll take you to Lino's," Mary and Neil Hartwig of Rochester told us as we sipped martinis in the Royal Viking Sea Lounge on an Australia-Hong Kong curise.

They did and they were right -- it is an undiscovered gem of an eatery. Owner Lino Borraccio calls its decor "Old Country Italian," with walls of dark wood displaying European lithographs, a massive brass-hooded fireplace dividing booth-lined, 125-seat dining room with terra cotta floor. Wife Ellen noted Lino's is dimly lighted enough to be romantic, yet light enough to read menu.

Bar to one side is of brass-trimmed oak, with sports lightographs. As we sipped a Tanqueray martini $4.50 ( regular $3.25 ), we counted 11 pasta entrees spaghetti, meat balls, angel hair, tomato, basil sauce, $8.95 to linguini with red or white seafood sauce $13.95. Eleven meat entrees ran two chicken dishes $11.25 to lamb chops $18.95. Broiled Orange Roughy $10.95, Canadian Salmon, broiled, or with seasoned breadcrumbs $14.95.

Entrees include pasta or vegetables, salad, bread. Our crips salad was dressed with sweet-sour sauce, pine nuts, very good. My escargot in sweet brown garlic butter sauce $5.95 was different, very good. Other appetizers Italian sausage, peppers, onion; antipasto $4.50; roasted pepers, fontina cheese $3.50, minestrone soup $2.25.

Wife Ellen's veal limoni $13.95, passed muster. My spaghetti had a slightly sweet, rich sauce I liked. Onion, sauasge, pepper had an unusual tomato flavor $4.50. Serivce excellent, coffee hot, strong. Desserts $2.95 cannoli to Zabaglione Marsala $4.25 we didn't test.

From cheffing at Madison Heights Venetian Club, Lino took over this Roman Tavern three years ago. Credit cards. Handicapped. Non-smoking area. Piano entertainment Fri., Sat. Open 5-10 p.m. Mon.-Thurs., 5-11 p.m. Fri.Sat., 4-9 p.m. Sun. (313) 652-9002 -- LRB