Saturday, June 15, 2013

Maggiano's Little Italy Food Review

Italian Sausage Flatbread

Maggiano's Little Italy at Friendship Heights seems like two restaurants in one. In fact, a few years ago... It literally was: Maggiano's occupied the big, sprawling dining room in the back, while Corner Bakery Cafe took care of the front. Nowadays, Maggiano's operates both rooms... one for the majority of diners, most of whom arrive in large parties; and the other... for people like me. Needless to say, I always ask for a booth up front.

In my opinion, service is better near the bar. A lot better. Our server (Karen) was especially on her game today, taking care of our every need. All appetizers? No problem. No avocado in the Chopped Salad. Done. Coffee with the food, not before? What's next? Lucky for us, bread. Served the proper way (with olive oil, not butter) I could start and end with Maggiano's delicious, warm bread. Wouldn't it be great if all restaurants understood the importance of something so simple as breaking bread with... bread?


But man doesn't live on bread alone, does he? Thankfully, we also like to munch on breaded zucchini sticks and dip them in lemon aioli cream sauce. Six giant pieces, fried perfectly (and thankfully not oily) for $8.25 is a great way to start a memorable lunch; and grating cheese on top of each stick is the equivalent of topping your Christmas tree with the star. Perfect!

Crispy Zucchini Fritte

Lest you think I came for fried food only, let me direct you to the Tomato Caprese salad for $7.75. Four big pieces of fresh mozzarella atop equally impressive slices of tomato, and drizzled in balsamic oil? Yes, please! Feel free to add a bit of olive oil to make it... perfect.

Tomato Caprese

My main entree turned out to be yet another appetizer. Maggiano's Italian Sausage Flatbread puts most pizzas to shame, incorporating flaky crust, fresh tomatoes and to-die-for chunks of sausage. Big enough for two, it still costs only $7.95. If you're not stuffed at this point, ask for a bag/box (everyone else does.) Toss in wonderful background music (lots of Frank Sinatra) and a warm, un-corporate like atmosphere; and you have one of the best Italian restaurants in town. Slower service has been a problem in the past (food size portions never have) but Karen made sure we were taken care of, better than anyone else in the whole house. That's how it's supposed to be, when you go out to eat: Thanks for getting it right.