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Romano's Macaroni Grill and Rosengarten


GoodEater
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But you'll be alright as long as you stick to the focaccia and table wine.

by table wine do you mean house wine? i can't imagine their house wines being even decent (chardonnay, wine zin, etc, according to the website). but i've never had them.

I was speaking survival mode. Go with the flow. Brain in neutral. Last I saw, diners poured themselves mass quantities of table wine into tumblers, working on the honor system. I don't think their food even goes with wine, YMMV, probably a mixed drink would be better. Or several. Now I doubt you would be happy with this, since you seem to have concerns. But it would anesthetize me while I enjoyed the hot bread and waited for my dining companions to finish their meals, at which point we could probably split one of those desserts that's large enough for a table. Undoubtedly they owe it to me, as they would have had to be treating me in the first place for me to go to Macaroni Grill.

Here in NJ, the MG's are not allowed to let the wine sit on the table to let the owners pour their own ala the honor system. The MG by me in Holmdel has told me that state law prevents them from doing so. So the servers pour by the glass upon request.

I've gotten bottles of Cakebread Chard at a reasonable price from MG. I was impressed.

When my kids were younger my hubby and I visited it frequently. Still stop in every now and then. Decent food at decent price.

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singing the praises of a well-made chicken pot pie, or tuna salad with Hellman's mayo.

Edit: What exactly is the problem with Macaroni Grill other than that it's a chain?

Chains have no soul.

Ah, but I do love a well made chicken pot pie or tuna salad.

marlena

Marlena the spieler

www.marlenaspieler.com

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singing the praises of a well-made chicken pot pie, or tuna salad with Hellman's mayo.

Edit:  What exactly is the problem with Macaroni Grill other than that it's a chain?

Chains have no soul.

Ah, but I do love a well made chicken pot pie or tuna salad.

marlena

Let's not be too anti-chain here, there are also many acclaimed restaurants that have no soul (been to Charlie Trotters lately)?

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True. Soul isn't the first thing I look for in a lot of places when I just want a nice dinner and don't want to cook. If the prices and food are good, bring it on.

He don't mix meat and dairy,

He don't eat humble pie,

So sing a miserere

And hang the bastard high!

- Richard Wilbur and John LaTouche from Candide

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singing the praises of a well-made chicken pot pie, or tuna salad with Hellman's mayo.

Edit:  What exactly is the problem with Macaroni Grill other than that it's a chain?

Chains have no soul.

Ah, but I do love a well made chicken pot pie or tuna salad.

marlena

Let's not be too anti-chain here, there are also many acclaimed restaurants that have no soul (been to Charlie Trotters lately)?

just because chains have no soul--and maybe there is another word we need to use here instead of soul, i was just feeling trigger happy to press that reply button--i mean, food that is honest and made by humans rather than a business plan and an assembly line, though the truth is that a good taqueria can be like an assembly line but at least there is a human element of choice etc both front and back of the counter and office menu planning etc.......

doesn't mean that there aren't "fine dining" destinations that lack soul as well.

don't get me started, i can be scathing in this direction.

What i'm saying is this: there has to be some sort of passion for food somewhere along the way, i feel sick shoving food in my face that is merely a vehicle for the owners of the chain or restaurant to make buckets of money. i at least want the feeling that the food is being made for me and that its healthy, and please don't laugh:

made with love.

of course sometimes it can be made with love and taste like...rubbish.

but still, chains appeal to the lowest common denominator, to sell the most meals, and buy the cheapest ingredients, to make the most money, and are truly a dumbing down experience foodwise.

okay, though i do like a nice lavish salad bar now and again.

marlena

Marlena the spieler

www.marlenaspieler.com

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but still, chains appeal to the lowest common denominator, to sell the most meals, and buy the cheapest ingredients, to make the most money, and are truly a dumbing down experience foodwise.

and non-chains don't do that? i've not found that to be the case.

it seems once a place has more than a few outposts, or, :shudder:, stockholders, they are immediately branded. i would submit that an awful lot of non-chains deserve that branding just as much.

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but still, chains appeal to the lowest common denominator, to sell the most meals, and buy the cheapest ingredients, to make the most money, and are truly a dumbing down experience foodwise.

and non-chains don't do that? i've not found that to be the case.

it seems once a place has more than a few outposts, or, :shudder:, stockholders, they are immediately branded. i would submit that an awful lot of non-chains deserve that branding just as much.

yeah, sometimes they do, i said as much in my original posting.

but you're a zillion times more likely to have good heartfelt soulful food that makes you feel good when you're eating real food, with a real person in the kitchen, and a real food philosophy. ethnic restaurants do this really well, sometimes. depending on the ethnicity.

but chains.......and restaurants with too much hype leaves me cold. i maintain that you're still more likely to eat well at a restaurant whose owner run maximum two restaurants, maybe three but thats max. and thats only if they have family and friends who share the food philosophy.

so that no one feels that the term food philosophy is high fallootin, or ponced up, or elitist........

i should clarify: a good diner fits into my category. a good mexican shack, pho joint, burger dive, taqueria, or french bistro.

the endless chains i'm sorry just don't do it. for me. i feel swamped by the impersonal and deeply sad when i eat there.

marlena

Marlena the spieler

www.marlenaspieler.com

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Note to David R.,

I guess that's why we hold Julia Child in a special light. Her taste buds and opinions were never for sale. I have read the Rosengarten Report in the past, but will read it with more scepticism in the future. How do we know what we are reading is his honest opinion, or a paid advert?

Challah-baker

Edited by challah-baker (log)
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How do we know what we are reading is his honest opinion, or a paid advert?

you either have faith or not.

what exactly did rosengarten say about RMG? i'd like to put his exact words under the light before writing him off as a souless shill.

fwiw, i've not seen this commerical, nor have i found any information on the internet about it. that's odd. is it only in a few markets or something? perhaps they knew that jaded NJ-ers wouldn't buy it for a second. :unsure:

Edited by tommy (log)
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While Romanos is a chain, it is a pretty darn good chain. I'd easily rank it above OG, and the food I have had there is superior to the majority of mom and pop Italian places i the area.

Living in NYC tends to make access to chain restaurants difficult at times and not all that enticing at others. I've never been to a Macaroni Grill or Olive Garden. I do remember a funny story from a Usenet post years before eGullet and long before this sort of level of chain had established a food hold in Manhattan. I'm not sure it was about Macaroni Grill because of my unfamiliarity with the name, but it was about an "Italian theme" restaurant reputedly a cut above Olive Garden. One poster was defending the pasta and another replied to say that when he complained about it, the manager indignently told him the pasta was fresh. "We cook fresh pasta every day."

Robert Buxbaum

WorldTable

Recent WorldTable posts include: comments about reporting on Michelin stars in The NY Times, the NJ proposal to ban foie gras, Michael Ruhlman's comments in blogs about the NJ proposal and Bill Buford's New Yorker article on the Food Network.

My mailbox is full. You may contact me via worldtable.com.

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