Dining: New owner makes a mark on Trattoria Serventi

Molly Abraham

Joe Serventi has been on the premises in Grosse Pointe Woods for years as a partner, in fact, ever since Andiamo opened there in 1994. But now it’s his name over the door since he became the proprietor of Trattoria Serventi, And in just a few weeks, he’s made his mark in a subtle way at this Grosse Pointe Woods spot.

There are no truly drastic changes, but the cozy place with the brick pizza oven in the front window seems to have a fresh new spirit. For one thing, the price structure has been lowered and some popular dishes that had been dropped from the menu have been brought back, notably the chicken spiedini with fontina cheese and a light tomato sauce, crepes filled with spinach and artichoke hearts, chicken Florentine and oven-roasted bruschetta.

And while the Andiamo name has been a draw, the proliferation of the locations of Joe Vicari’s local chain throughout the metro area can make people react with a “been there, done that” attitude.

Former sous chef Jon Tozzi is now the executive chef, turning out such traditional dishes as ravioli with meat sauce and fettuccine Alfredo, both of which include house-made pasta. Gnocchi, the little potato dumplings, are light and nicely finished with a creamy tomato sauce, and they typify the Italian thrust of the menu. But the choices goes beyond pastas and scallopinis to such mainstream dishes as baked salmon and of course, filet mignon and New York strip.

Entrée prices include soup or salad and foccacia and crisp, skinny breadsticks. I was not impressed with the minestrone on one occasion, but I’ll give another chance.

The main menu is an all-day one, but during the week until 4 p.m., there is also another option, a sandwich menu, Ten Under Ten, that offers a choice of $8.95 and $9.95 items, including a prime beef burger, and the price includes Parmesan-truffle fries, as well as soup or salad, definitely a deal and people are responding.

Other popular drawing cards here are the four nights of live piano music in the bar that flanks the wood-paneled dining room and is open to it through open windows. The music runs not during the usual happy hour time frame, but from 6:30 to 10 p.m., Thursday through Saturday, a nice touch.

The new regime is off to an encouraging start.


Trattoria Serventi

20039 Mack Avenue, Grosse Pointe Woods

(313) 886-9933


Rating:★★ 1/2

Hours: 11:30 a.m.-10 p.m. Mon.-Thurs., 11:30 a.m.-11 p.m. Fri., 1-11 p.m. Sat. 1-9 p.m. Sun .

Prices: Appetizers $4.95-$14.95, soups and salads $3.95-$14.95, pizzas 10.95-$13.95, pastas $11.95-$15.96, entrees $14.95-$24.95; from 11:30 a.m.-4 p.m. Mon.-Fri., the “Ten under Ten” menu is available with all items $9.95 or $8.95.

Credit cards: All major

Liquor: Full bar

Noise level: Moderate

Parking: Street, municipal lot, and valet Fri-Sat.

Wheelchair access: No barriers

What the ratings mean

★ — routine ★★ — good ★★ 1/2 — very good

★★★ — excellent ★★★★ — outstanding