Who was this person, offering to take my coat and show me to my table? Host? My table? Mine? What was this cloth on the tabletop? These fragile vessels on delicate stems, glinting in the candlelight? Was this a menu? A wine list? Was I dreaming?
After less home cooking than what should have happened and more occasions of “let’s just order a pizza,” I was learning to dine again. My release back into the wild—my restaurant rehab, as it were—was overseen by some of Salt Lake City’s most caring hands, Veneto’s Marco and Amy Stevanoni.
The Stevanonis had invited me out of hibernation to enjoy a wine event; well, it would have been a wine event, but the pandemic curtailed the restaurant’s ability to hold its curated wine dinners (that sell out in seconds). But as Marco says, every dinner he serves is a custom wine event.
“Even two people coming in are going to have a wine event,” Marco says. “That’s what we’ve always wanted Veneto to be, an exceptional experience.”
Veneto’s daringly curated wine program is dedicated to the not-so-humble goal of offering a complete selection of the best wines from all 20 regions in Italy. Starting with a prosecco, I discover that the muscle memory is there, my atrophy is supported by Veneto’s seven-course seasonal tasting menu—from zuppa to millefoglie ai fruiti rossi—and meticulously augmented by Marco’s attentive and improvisational wine pairings.
“You have to match the wine to an expectation, a mood,” he says. “It does not have to be expensive [although Veneto has a bottle on its list that goes for 16K, BTW.] We want what we bring to the table to match the food, their companions, so we all discover an exceptional night together.”
To get in on the ground floor of Veneto’s periodic wine events, often featuring tastings and lectures guided by winemakers direct from Italy, sign up for the restaurant’s e-newsletter. This story is part of our May/June 2021 print issue. Subscribe here.