Saturday, June 19, 2010

Romano's Macaroni Grill, Ramsey, NJ

Years ago we discovered Romano's when we were returning from someplace in Jersey and it became a favorite. Every time we went to Jersey we'd stop and eat. Often there was a long wait, sometimes up to three-quarters of an hour, but we didn't mind since we really liked the food. It tasted fresh, the bread was good, and the prices were good. Well, we stopped going a few years ago for some reason, I think it was because we decided to head further up the line before we ate.

At any rate, we stopped by today for a change and the place hasn't changed. It still has that rustic look, the Italian lessons in the bathroom, the house wine bottles all over, the wine glasses on the tables, the paper and crayons on the tables, and the waiters and waitresses dressed in black and white. The menu has changed however. They dropped the lighter fare, like the skinny chicken, and added a few pricier items like veal chops. They have also added a few Mediterranean items which looked interesting, but I wanted something I was familiar with.

After some deliberation, I ordered the Penne Rustica (pictured above) for $12.99. It had chicken, shrimp and prosciutto over penne pasta. Now this is a dish I've had there a few times in the past and I remember it as being a much larger portion. So much larger that I used to take some of it home. This time I finished the dish and was still a bit hungry later. Teresa had the Eggplant Parmigiana for $9.99. It was okay, nothing special, and the portion seemed a bit smaller than we remembered it as having been.

Overall, it was okay. Nothing special. There are some areas where this would be considered good Italian food, like in Alabama maybe, but here where we have some real Italian restaurants. Romano's is nothing more than chain Italian. It is better than an Olive Garden, but I'd recommend a good local Italian place first, unless you are traveling. Then places like Romano's are a nice safe bet.

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