Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Maggiano's Little Italy, Jacksonville, Florida

Maggiano's Little Italy
10367 Midtown Parkway
St. Johns Town Center
Jacksonville, FL, 32246

I heard about Maggiano's via a trade show coupon book. I decided to sign up for their email list, but never got around to visiting. I finally took my parents and my sisters to Maggiano's on Mother's Day this month.

The menu was rather expensive, so we quickly decided on the family style meal. It came with a choice of 2 appetizers, 2 salads, 2 pastas, 2 entrees and 2 desserts. [Your table can get seconds or thirds [no charge] when you run out of whichever dish you've chosen.] It was $25 per person. With tax, tip and drinks, the bill was $157 for five of us. So yeah, it cost a lot. And I won't be eating there every week. But it was definitely worth the price. I've listed our menu choices below and my opinion of them:

Calamari Fritte
Crispy calamari coated in egg whites and seasoned flour, deep fried and served with our marinara sauce.

4 of us found the calamari too chewy. One sister, who absolutely loves calamari, swears it was cooked perfectly.

Stuffed Mushrooms
Jumbo mushroom caps stuffed with spinach and topped with our seasoned breadcrumbs and house cheese; served in a white wine chicken broth.

This appetizer came with 8 large mushrooms and 1/2 a lemon. These were magnificent ! Someone lost a finger reaching for the last one :D We ordered seconds.

Caesar Salad
A traditional Caesar salad of romaine lettuce tossed with Caesar dressing, croutons and shaved Parmesan cheese.

It was very good. The salad had slices of Parmesan instead of the usual grated variety [a huge improvement, in my book]The Caesar dressing had a very pleasant, creamy flavor.

Spinach Salad
Tender leaf spinach tossed with roasted red peppers, sweet roasted onions, Gorgonzola cheese, apple cider vinaigrette and topped with smoked bacon and toasted pine nuts.

We ordered three helpings of the spinach salad. It was just off the charts amazing. The Gorgonzola and apple cider vinaigrette were an excellent pairing.

Four Cheese Ravioli
Ravioli stuffed with ricotta cheese, cream cheese, mozzarella, and provolone filling sprinkled with house cheese, then browned in the oven and served in pesto-Alfredo cream sauce with a touch of marinara.

The ravioli was well received. The sauce was thick, creamy and rich.

Mom's Lasagna
Whipped ricotta cheese layered with pasta sheets, crumbled meatballs, Italian sausage and marinara sauce. Topped with provolone cheese and your choice of our meat or marinara sauce

The one disappointment was this lasagna. None of us noticed sausage on the menu listing; otherwise we wouldn't have ordered this. To be blunt, it tasted cheap and gross.

Chicken Parmesan
Lightly breaded chicken breasts fried and topped with provolone cheese and marinara sauce. Served with Parmesan chips.

This was the best chicken Parmesan any of us had ever tasted. This was not the nasty kind made of chicken parm made from spaghetti noodles and a cheap, breaded, frozen patty.

Chicken Marsala
Chicken breasts sauteed with Marsala wine, veal sauce, mushrooms, onions and basil.

The wine sauce and mushrooms were heaven X D We ordered seconds on this, too.

Ladyfinger cookies soaked in espresso and coffee liqueur layered with mascarpone cheese;dusted with cocoa powder and served with chocolate

The tiramisu merited a second and then third order. Yum!

N.Y. Style Cheesecake, Seasonal Fruit
New York style ricotta cheesecake topped with fresh berries and whipped cream.

Normally I won't order cheesecake in a restaurant. It usually doesn't taste as good as my homemade version. But this ? Totally worth a second order.

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