Michael came home from University of Texas-Austin to celebrate his birthday. Actually, his birthday had passed but this was his first opportunity to come home to celebrate. I always make his favorite meal, and then he gets to choose where he would like to eat out. Yes, birthdays last a long time in this household. He chose Maggiano’s Little Italy at the RIM here in San Antonio, TX.
I’ve read reviews on Maggiano’s before and I think some have the concept of Maggiano’s wrong. In my opinion I do not think Maggiano’s ever considered itself fine dining. It is a casual dining restaurant for classic and contemporary Italian dishes. If you go there with that notion in mind I think you will not be disappointed. Michael wanted Italian; and around here that is good as you’re going to get without going all the way into San Antonio.
We made reservations for when we thought everyone could get to the restaurant. John, Jack (my eldest son), and Itzel (Michael’s girlfriend) had to work. And, of course, their jobs were in completely different directions.
As I drove up I saw that the parking lot was completely full, but now Maggiano’s has complimentary valet service. I chose to park at the lot near the Palladium as I figured any walking I do after dinner could only help with all the calories I was about to eat. I arrived a few minutes late. John and Jack were all ready there and we were still waiting on Michael and Itzel. Maggiano’s has a rule they will not seat you until everyone is in the restaurant, but for some unknown reason they let us sit at our table with 2 of our party not there (and this was while they were busy). Thank you hostess.
We ordered our drinks and that’s when Michael and Itzel showed up. Now it’s time to eat.
We ordered our appetizers, which came out hot. The mozzarella marinara was nice and gooey with the perfect amount of sauce. Calamari fritte was good and so were the stuffed mushrooms.
This is where I do have to write something negative on the food. I don’t know how you can ruin a salad, but Maggiano’s did find a way. The italian tossed salad I had was not dressed properly and was watery. John and Jack’s caesar was not a traditional caesar salad, as we were not warned about consuming raw egg and it was hardly dressed with the caesar dressing.
Our main entrees were very good. I had linguine di mare and it had the right amount of spice in the sauce and the seafood was not overcooked. John’s crab & shrimp cannelloni was so moist and delicious, with creaminess of the asiago cheese sauce. I heard no complaints on the chicken parmesan and the salmon oscar. As a matter of fact, Michael said they cooked the salmon perfectly. Jack’s jumbo lump crab cakes were big and moist. Seared to a nice golden brown with the tomato aioli. Added bonus; we didn’t find any crab shells in either of the dishes. It happens in restaurants more than I like, so it was a nice, pleasant surprise.
The wait staff and servers were very pleasant and not once did I not see a smile on their face. They were not overbearing but didn’t disappear either.
All in all, we had a great time and meal together. And one of Michael’s presents was not embarrassing him by announcing we were celebrating his birthday, which I’ve been known to do. So, Happy Birthday Michael!
If you want a casual Italian dinner at reasonable prices try Maggiano’s Little Italy at the RIM.