Tonight, looking for something different in West Cobb, we decided to go to Romano’s Macaroni Grill, for the first time in four or more years. We arrived at 5:30, just ahead of the dinner rush and, apparently, just ahead of much of the wait staff. We were shown to a table and we waited for the server. And we waited. And we waited. Ten minutes passed and Jo went and asked the hostess if we had a server. She assured us we did. Five more minutes passed and I walked to a waiter’s station and asked one of the three there, standing around, if any one of them would be willing to wait on us. A young man named Adam, said “certainly” and service wasn’t an issue from then on out. But the people who were subsequently seated around us waited a long time for anything beyond water to come to their table.
I remembered being fond of their bread and olive oil, but it didn’t meet the gloriousness of my memory. It was heavy on rosemary. Jo started with the brick-oven olives, which were described as mediterranean olives, parmesan cheese, mediterranean panur (I looked up “panur” and couldn’t figure out what it was), but when it came to the table, it was actually a dish of lukewarm olives with some cheese scattered over them that had been heated in the oven. She followed that with the chicken marsala. It was perfectly fine, but not particularly hot. The taste reminded me of one of those make-your-own-Italian-meals-from-a-kit that you can get at the grocery store. The Italian bake that I had
(meatballs, Italian sausage, baked ricotta and pasta) wasn’t warm either. And it wasn’t particularly tasty. The sausage was spicy, but spicy alone didn’t make the dish any better. I realized why we hadn’t been in a while – I don’t enjoy it anymore than I do Olive Garden. Most anyone can make Italian food this good at home and there are so many good Italian restaurants in this town that it’s a shame to waste your money at one of these chains. We won’t do it again.