Food & Drink
Fast Foodie: Maggiano's Little Italy
Published: June 27, 2012
Should you find yourself in The Rim anytime soon — maybe catching a sale at Off 5th or Nordstrom's … or buying a bass boat (I won't say which I was doing, but I suspect that nobody will guess bass boat), then Maggiano's Little Italy, yes, a shameless chain, may impose itself between bouts of sock and shirt selection. It could be worse.
The place presents itself as annoyingly corporate in design: Dean Martin dark and clubby leavened with red-checkered tablecloths. There is the expected Rat-Packish soundtrack —though ratcheted up to include Michael Bublé. The waitstaff, if my waiter is typical, is conservatively attired but shamelessly pushy. "Red or white wine?" were just about the first words out of his mouth. He then suggested I might like a soup to go with my salad.
And in fact, I did. The creamy chicken with potato was not, as I had feared, a seasoned library-paste kinda concoction. It was lightly creamy, reasonably well stocked with potato and chicken, and only needed a little ground pepper from the grinder at the table. Impressive, that grinder.
I admit to having been sorely tempted by a Classic Pasta offer, namely one to eat and one to take home, all at $12.95. (From the looks of the number of take-out bags lined up on a counter near me, a lot of people had been similarly tempted.) But in the long run, I didn't really want eggplant parmesan with spaghetti pomodoro or Taylor Street baked ziti after buying really classy, striped socks in great colors. More appropriate to the shopping spree was a lunch salad of crab (the real thing) with shrimp (also real — not those annoying "cocktail" shrimp) and arugula with a "lemonette" dressing. Over-dressing is often a problem with big-bowl salads, but Maggiano's had used a light hand — so light that the lemon wasn't really apparent, but, did I say this before? It could have been worse. Much worse. Again, I made use of the pepper grinder.
"Regular or decaf?" Neither, thanks. I passed on dessert, too, even though under other circumstances (that super-sale shirt was still not exactly cheap) I might have considered Nonna's toasted pound cake or the apple crostata. Next sale.
17603 IH 10 W