Maggiano’s in Houston, Texas is one of the most popular Italian restaurants in town, but it only gets one thumb up from me. We had a reservation for three people on a Saturday night however, once we arrived at the restaurant we had to wait 20 minutes for our table – so much for having a reservation. Maggiano’s was packed so we waited by the bar like sardines. I did not know why the restaurant was so crowded but I suspect it’s like that every weekend.
Finally we were shown to our table which was all the way in the back, crammed in between two other tables. I personally thought the set-up was a fire hazard since we barely had any room to even pull our chairs out. The chairs themselves were so small that I did not have any leg room – and I’m not tall – and the seat was so short that I was fidgety the entire time.
Our waitress was overly-friendly, and she raved about every single dish we ordered which meant she was lying about all of them. Then she made silly excuses for the long delay, and by the end of the night she came across as an actress trying to impress a table full of directors.
I ordered the crab cakes for my appetizer which I shared with my husband. He thought they were great but had a tad too much mayonnaise; however, I thought they had an abundance of mayonnaise (which I didn’t understand because I’ve never made my crab cakes with mayonnaise) and they were not cooked well enough to keep the crab cake together. They were supposed to be served with a side of mustard sauce but instead we got a huge dollop of mayonnaise which we did not touch.
My husband and brother-in-law shared the mozzarella marinara which is basically breaded fried cheese, but it came out as a large rectangle. They both enjoyed their cheese but thought it was a large portion despite it only being a ½ order.
For my entrée I ordered the mushroom ravioli. The menu listed it with cream sauce but I asked for olive oil, garlic and parmesan cheese instead. What I got was a dish of nine ravioli swimming in a gallon of light olive oil (not extra virgin olive oil) that had no taste, and at least 10 cloves of garlic that were so overcooked they actually tasted like onion. The mushroom filling was sweeter than fruit and I wondered just what type of mushroom they used. I’ve never heard of a sweet mushroom and for me, the dish was just plain odd. The pasta itself was fine but that’s about all I enjoyed.
My husband had the tilapia special which was supposed to be breaded but we couldn’t find the breading. The sauce was interesting with olives and peppers, and when I had some of the leftovers the next day I thought the fish was savory but not spectacular. I personally prefer the way I make tilapia. The regular size portion came with four fish but not even the two of us (on two different days) could eat it all.
My brother-in-law had a ½ order of spaghetti with meat sauce. The ½ order was a huge bowl, big enough for a Sumo wrestler. Needless to say, he did not come close to eating even half of it. Though there was a plethora of spaghetti, there was hardly any meat sauce. Maggiano’s alone could be responsible for America’s obesity epidemic. I just don’t understand why their portions have to be that big.
I thought Maggiano’s was over-rated and I won’t be returning however, If you have a large group of people who are willing to share, then Maggiano’s could be the restaurant for you. Do not get the family style dinner because it is just more food than you need; their regular portions are more than enough.
Maggiano’s is a national chain but the one we dined at is located in the Galleria area. Their exact address is 2019 Post Oak Boulevard, Houston, Texas, 77056. To make a reservation, visit their web site by clicking here, or call 713-961-2700. Maggiano’s is open Monday through Thursday 11 AM – 10 PM, Friday and Saturday 11 AM – 11PM, and on Sunday 11 AM – 9PM.