After initially offering a $15 four-course tasting menu during the holiday season, Macaroni Grill has since updated the promotion with new main courses (and ultimately higher prices) including Chicken Scaloppine, Chicken Marsala and the Pork Chop Vesuvio. Even though the price points on these menu items have been raised $3-$5 to bring the retail prices up to $18-$20 before tip and taxes, you’re not going to leave hungry nor have to worry about lunch tomorrow. Well, unless you eat like the #foodbeast we all know you are. Which means, that you’ll want to immediately fall asleep because as we all know: four courses of Italian fare = triumphant food coma. I hope you didn’t make post-dinner plans.
The four-course offering does force feed, albeit deliciously, the first two courses of Ravioli Tostati and Caesar Salad. Both enough to finally get your mouth focused on something else besides the infamous bread but leave enough space to still be excited for what’s to come. The Ravioli Tostati is almost exactly like it sounds, crispy-fried parmesan breaded ravioli stuffed with cheese and topped with an arrabbiata red sauce. And if you think I should describe what the caesar salad is like, you can leave this website right now. And never return. Just kidding, please keep reading.
Following the apertivio and insalata courses come your choice of pasta: Spaghetti Napolitana or Fettuccine Alfredo. Nothing too fancy, but either option satisfies that craving for pasta you always have at an Italian restaurant. You know, that craving that says “Get the spaghetti and meatballs!” But then for some stupid reason we decide on something with more protein, less carbs or both. And sure, we feel better in the morning. But in the moment we have to watch our friends eat delicious carb-y, creamy, saucy pasta. As they slurp ravishing pasta in front of our faces, we can feel a bit moronic.
By this time if you’ve completely finished the ravioli, caesar salad and choice of pasta, you should be enthusiastic for two reasons. First, if you’ve cleaned your plates like a good boy or gal, the main course should have enough for this meal and the next (outside of the aforementioned #foodbeast grub fest). To be honest, all three main courses were the largest individual portions I have ever witnessed at a multi-location Italian restaurant chain. For the record. Secondly, the main courses are hands down the course to look forward to the most.
Our serving of Chicken Scallopine included 3 larger pieces of lemon-butter chicken, artichokes, mushrooms and prosciutto. The Chicken Marsala had a comparable portion size and included cremini mushrooms and marsala wine sauce. But if you’re on the fence about what to order, let me push you over to the side of the Pork Chop Vesuvio. Similar to many independent restaurants, Macaroni Grill (or at least this location) now receive uncut loins, which mean the chefs cut the chops to their liking. And they’re huge. Our pork chop weighed in at above 12 ounces. And even though the General Manager told us the average cut would be close to 12 ounces, you could also tell he was being conservative while talking to media. My gut feeling, don’t be surprised if you wind up with a 13 or 14 ounce slab on your plate. The roasted pork chop is topped with peppers, capers and a rustic tomato sauce. And as you can tell from the pictures, each secondi course comes with a heaping of roasted potatoes.
Last but not least, Grill patrons also have the ability to add a fifth course dessert choice for $3.50 – Salted Caramel Gelato. The dessert is a brand new item and includes the gelato topped with caramel ganache and toffee crumbles.
Pictures by Peter Pham.