My recent trip to Maggiano's reminded me why I don't enjoy eating at Italian restaurants...as well as why I keep going back.
Creating the perfect ambiance for an intimate dinner is both science and art, and Maggiano's was a great place to hold a private conversation in the middle of friendly crowd. We felt like we were "out", but our booth was truly "our" space and the lighting, temperature and furnishings were all comfortable. Major Kudos to Maggianos for that.
I'm generally not impressed with the flavor of Italian cuisine unless it's cooked at someone's home. Maggiano's was no exception. I was excited to introduce calamari to my daughter-in-law. Bad idea. Bland, forgetful.
I liked the way the mozzarella was served in two big slabs, rather than smaller portions. I love the whole communal dining concept, but again, the sauce and cheese were just..."eehhh." I split the chicken and spinach manicotti with a girlfriend and both of our tastebuds slept right through the party.
We were celebrating my daughter-in-law's 20th birthday. She said that her virgin peach bellini was the best drink she'd ever had...and surpassed the enjoyment of her meal too, some rigatoni thingamajiggy.
So, maybe next time, Maggiano's will be the spot for cocktails, laughter and sharing...and we'll leave the cooking to someone else.
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