The experience

maggiano's little italyWell, here I sit writing the post at the hospital.  This means another night where Ogre and I both drive to the restaurant and I leave separately to work.  We like to eat on the west side of Plano and planned to eat at I Fratelli’s.  Ogre was already in the area having had a meeting in Addison and arrived before we did to find that this was a carryout/delivery only pizza hub.  Change of plans.  He U-turned and headed to Maggiano’s after short debate about an alternative.  I was stuck in the on ramp traffic so he grabbed a table, ordered our drinks and reviewed the menu while he waited. We finally arrived and headed in unable to find him in the maze of tables.  The hostess had no idea either.  Luckily Ogre happened to look up and chase after us as I headed in the other direction.

We were in a booth, which was great since I didn’t bring in Benji’s chair.  I also didn’t bring the camera (we left it at home); hence, lack of pictures and low quality pictures!  Mina pulled out her coloring and busied herself with that straight away. 

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Benji busied himself with the bread, which he insisted on resting on my bread plate.  He pointed at the balsamic vinegar/olive oil dip and said that it was “spicy,” we tried to tell him that it wasn’t, but he didn’t want to try it.  He did want to try the Parmesan cheese that they leave on the table. 

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Then he proceeded to see what the Parmesan would look like all over the place, including his hair!

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Ogre and I decided to the Light All You Can Eat and chose our various choices for appetizer, salad and pasta.  They have a lot of selections to choose from.  Once we put that in, the appetizers and salads came out rather quickly.  The kids loved the calamari, I loved the mussels, and Ogre loved the salad.   It was good time had by all, really.

Benji started to get irritated with me because I wouldn’t let him pass me (he wanted to get out of the booth).  Ogre entertained him by having the mussel shells “talk.”  This was a great hit with the kids.  Mina then requested a mussel of her own. 

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At that moment, Benji dropped his toy on to the ground and I wouldn’t let him get it.  More tears.  Mina handed him a mussel and he joined in.  He even held the mussel out to me and wanted me to take a picture of the mussel saying, “CHEEEE!”

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Ogre ordered a second batch of mussels, which would prove to be the downfall of dinner.  Not the fault of the restaurant, though.  I needed to leave by a certain time to get to work and it delayed the arrival of the entrees.  I did eat a ton of mussels, though.  The pasta came out with 2 minutes for me to spare, which I used to grab a to go box and to go cup and headed out of there. 

I asked Ogre to fill me in on the events after I left.  Not to my surprise, he had to encourage Mina to eat, Mina did not eat her salad, Benji ate a ton of gnocchi, Mina was not allowed to have dessert because she did not eat well at dinner, and Benji almost ripped out all his shoulder hair trying to get Ogre to play “See Saw Up and Down.” 

 

The food

Traditional Italian food -they have pastas and meat entrees in huge portions!

IMG00371We ordered for appetizers: The calamari (because the kids love it) and mussels (’cause I like it and never order it anywhere).  The calamari was not the best we’ve ever had.  It was a little overcooked and the calamari was more chewy that I would hope.  The kids didn’t seem to mind.  IMG00366I thought the mussels were actually pretty good.  The broth is always a huge part of the taste and it was  a light, garlicky, lemony broth and the mussels were really good also.  As Ogre says, “not fishy tasting” -he doesn’t like any seafood that has that “from the sea/fishy taste.”  If he liked it, it has to be good.

IMG00367For salad, we ordered the Maggiano salad and Caesar salad.  The Maggiano Salad was excellent!  The dressing was light and subtly sweet, the bleu cheese was nice and chunky, and the lettuce and onions were nice and crisp.  I did not try the Caesar Salad, but Ogre said it was really good also.  He said it was a cross between the Caesar Salad you get at Carraba’s and the one you get at Outback Steakhouse.  He said the dressing was creamy with a good anchovy and mustardy twist to it. 

The pasta we chose were the TomatoVodka Sauce Gnocchi and the Baked Ziti with Sausage.  Both were pretty good.  The gnocchi was cooked well and the sauce was pretty good (definitely not the best we’ve ever had).  The Baked Ziti was also good, Ogre said excellent.  It had a really nice Pomodoro sauce and the sausage had a good flavor. 

I did not have the Lemon Cookies that came after dinner, but Ogre said those were tasty also.

 

The service

We had really good service tonight.  Our server was attentive and personable and the tempo of the food is really up to you, which we didn’t realize.  Just let them know that you’re ready for the next course, and it was only about a 5-10 minute wait for something to come out. 

 

The kids

I think this is a family friendly restaurant.  There are no kids’ activities, but the food comes out quickly and there’s plenty of it.  It’s recommended that you eat family style and I would totally agree with this!!

This is a great family style eatery with good food and a fun vibe.  I’d just make sure you give yourself enough time to eat and wear your adjustable pants!!

The total:

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