Maggiano's is a big chain Italian restaurant in the mold of Olive Garden, Romano's Macaroni Grill, Buca Di Beppo and Carrabba's. I was hoping it would be better than my recent visit to Beppo.
Armed with a $25 Rewards gift card and a $10 coupon ($30 purchase required), I headed up to Boca on a rainy day for an Italian feast. I got there at 3:15, and I was horrified to see the hours on the door; they serve lunch until 3pm, and dinner from 3pm to close. Why? Why must I order from the dinner menu at 3:15?
I thought about not going in, but after a 1/2 hour drive I figured I'd just deal with getting the larger dinner portions. I was seated in a largely empty dining room; there were 4 other people in the expansive room.jump-->
Maggiano's Boca Raton Interior
I was given a dinner menu and a wine list, and I think my server noticed me struggling to decide. "Would you like to see a lunch menu"? "Yeah", so lunch was on.
My first impression of the place that it has a strange smell, sort of a bad smell. It bothered me at first, but after a short while I didnt notice anymore. I had to order $35 worth of stuff to use up the card and the coupon, so I was ordering more than I was going to eat. My server also informed me that they had a promotion: buy a classic pasta and take one home; a promotion they've been running since 2009. And the promotion goes even if you have a coupon.
While I decided, I ordered a sausage and peppers appetizer. Bread was brought out immediately; my server made an olive oil dip with cheese, which i don't care for. So I made a plain oil dip with a few grinds of black pepper.
I wanted to try their Mom's Meat Lasagna, which is made with meatballs and sausage. Most places make it with Bechamel sauce, which I don't care for. I also ordered Chicken Francese; I'd seen pictures on their web site and it looked pretty good.>
I didn't like the bread; it was too dense and chewy. The sausages came out quickly.
Maggiano's Sausage and Peppers Appetizer
I'd had these before; they're terrific. Nicely browned mild sausages with sauteed red and yellow peppers; I easily could have eaten the whole thing, but i had a lot more food coming. So I just had three and pushed the rest aside.
Music here is purely old world; Sinatra, Como, Bennet and more Sinatra. It was a good 15 minutes before the entrees came out; good thing I had a good 3G signal.
The lasagna was a good sized square, not a bad portion for $12.95. I cut it in half and figured I'd take half of it home. It wasn't bad; I didn't particular like the sauce and the sausage wasn't as pronounced as I would have hoped. Not like my Mom's, who used a lot of sausage and more ricotta.
The menu says that they Chicken is supposed to come with crispy potatoes, but I didn't get any. I didn't remember exactly what it was supposed to come with so I didn't complain.
Maggiano's Chicken Francese
The chicken itself was tender and very lightly battered; the sauce wasn't quite lemony enough but it was a pretty good offering. If I were just having this I'd need to order a side of aglio e olio; but I didn't need it with all of the stuff I ordered.
I also took home an eggplant parmesan as the buy one take one home deal; I ended up eating some of it for dinner.
Maggio's Take Home Eggplant Parmesan
Interesting that they gave me spaghetti since the lasagna didn't come with anything. They have these pre-packages and refrigerated. I knew I wasn't crazy about the sauce, and they use provolone on it instead of mozzerella, so I made some adjustments. The eggplant was actually quite good; lightly breaded and thinly sliced; I enjoyed my modified version.
Maggiano's Eggplant Parmesan, my way
So this haul ended up costing me $4 plus tip; actually $29 after the $10 coupon, which you can get by joining their mailing list. Aside from a substantial lunch, I'll get 2 meals out of the eggplant, one from the sausages (adding some onions and tomatoes), 1 from the lasagna and one by adding some vegetables to the chicken.
Definitely better then DiBeppo; not as comfortable as Carrabbas but better Red Sauce food. While it doesn't seem that inexpensive, with the buy one take one home and the coupons it's a pretty good deal.