Maggiano’s Wedding Tasting

30 Dec

Before anyone gets excited… NO… not my wedding.  This was for my MOTHER’S wedding.  She was nice enough to bring me along to the part of weddings that I think I can best contribute to… the tasting.  In my opinion, people remember 2 main things about a wedding… the music (especially if it was bad) and the food.  Honestly, wedding food is usually somewhere between poor and average.  I have been to very few weddings where I walked away thinking the food, especially the entrees, were good.  Usually the hors devours are the best part of the evening and then it’s all bland filet mignon and dry chicken from there on out.  (Or a plate of frozen vegetables when your server doesn’t understand the difference between a chili pepper and black pepper… but that is another story for another day).

So when my mom said she was having her wedding at a chain restaurant where they would be serving Family Style, I was skeptical.  But that skepticism was soon washed away.  The food was fantastic at Maggiano’s.  We went to the one in Bridgewater, NJ, however, they have many locations across the country.

We started with salads that were outrageous.  The Chopped Salad with crispy prosciutto and the Spinach Salad with gorgonzola cheese, bacon and toasted pine nuts were some of my favorite dishes all night. Unfortunately, I forgot to photograph these.

I remembered I had a camera when the spinach and artichoke dip came out.  It was good, but nothing too special.

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We also tried out raviolis with veal and mushrooms in a cream sauce with roasted tomatoes, breadcrumbs, and marsala wine.  It was delish!

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The chicken francese with crisped potatoes was surprisingly good for chicken.

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I’m pretty sure this was the parmesan crusted tilapia.  I’m not a huge tilapia fan, but this was good.

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The pesto linguine (there may have been chicken too) was one of the favorites across the whole table.  Everyone went in for seconds on this one.

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We were all looking forward to the garlic mashed potatoes… but we were all left wondering where the garlic was.  Someone even asked the waiter if they were sure they put the garlic in… they were.  Pass.

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But the side of garlic string beans was delicious.

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The desserts were where Maggiano’s shined even more.  We started with cheesecake, which was divine.

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Then we tried the apple crostada, which they said was their most popular dessert.  It was awesome.  A sweet and crispy shell with perfectly cooked and seasoned apples inside.

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They also ordered the tiramisu under the waitress’ suggestion.  I have never been a tiramisu fan.  It’s always just a little too mushy and alcoholy for me.  Reminds me of eating mushy bread soaked in vodka with a bit of chocolate and coffee flavoring (yes… I would go so far as to say that I usually HATE tiramisu, even though it SOUNDS excellent based on the components).  This, however, was the best tiramisu I have ever tasted.  The lady fingers weren’t soggy, the layers were all great textures, and the flavors were excellent.  Color me impressed.

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Overall, this meal rivaled most Italian meals in NYC.  I was unbelievably impressed that this place was a chain.

At the wedding, they chose some of these dishes and some others, but I do have to say, every single person I talked to raved about the food.

It was a pleasant surprise.

Total Nom Points: 7 out of 10

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