Bad Italian Food Review – MACARONI GRILL

[nggallery id=841]

ELV note: We were cruising UNLV last night, and we happened to catch a portion of Professor Giovanni Ignacio Campari Antipasto’s lecture on Italian cuisine. Here’s a portion of what we overheard:

Professor Antipasto: Now repeat after me class: “America will eat anything on a noodle as long as there’s enough cheese on it.”

Very good. Now why do we loathe Macaroni Grill so? Miss Dish?

Deborah Delilah Dish (aka Triple D): “Well, you know, like…here’s the thing…my Caesar salad was like, you know, like more frigid than me and my BFF get the night before Aunt Flo pays us a visit. And…Oh..My..God! Aren’t they only supposed to only serve it at Caesars Palace because it was, like invented by Julius Caesar or something?

Prof. A: Close Miss Dish, close, but no tangerine for you after class. Anyone else? Hands? Ah, yes, Veronica Vessels?

VV: “I’m into, you know, like eating healthy and all, so I ordered the scallop spinach salad…and barf me out, the scallops were harder than my boyfriend during a slow dance. Then there were these big, burnt pieces of garlic all over the place, and no dressing, so I…like turned to my galpal and said, like: ‘gag me with a spoon,” and she was like, ‘you are so right, this is lamer than those Baldwins spazzing out trying to get us to do the wild thing last night.'”

(Professor Antipasto, seizing this opportunity to further educate his young charges, played the following video, and graded papers while his nubile (mostly white) students gyrated in the aisles imitating (mostly African American) students they had never met.)

Prof. A: Now now, let’s keep this clean. That song makes your Professor long for a more innocent time, when girls wore more fabric, alcoholism was a badge of honor, sheet metal the coin of the realm, and talent an even rarer commodity than it is today.

But we digress. Certainly there is something we like about this place. Mr. Haberdouchery, perhaps you can help us?

Seymour Haberdouchery: Yo yo yo, I be Fresh up out of bed and just got done getten some head. I am sure you little working class f*cks are hard at work while I am out here runnin a muck. You see I aint no DJ and I aint no MC. But muthas still want to flow like me. Yo sh#t is wack and my sh#t is dope. If you keep on steppen I am gonna have to hang you from a rope. This sh#t won’t stop and it will not quit. Like my Hammer said I am 2 legit 2 quit.
Yep, out all night partyin and playin. That’s what I do and that’s how I roll. You call me a troll but We are the real sh#t and you is the wack sh#t. And yall will not get no pass. We gonna stomp dat ass!

Prof. A: What?

SH: Like I said, I did not care for my lemon chicken Professor, as I found it devoid of lemon flavor and barely warm when it arrived. The mushroom ravioli, however, was acceptable in a better-than-Carraba’s sort of way. And the pasta e fagioli soup was a decent version with a slight, peppery kick.

Prof. A: Very good Mr. Haberdouchery. You may return to writing your poetry.

MH: Thanks Mr. A.. I thought you were wack, but you’re really dope. Do I get an “A?”

Prof. A: Of course…A’s all around. Now does anyone have an observation about the litre and a half of wine we tasted? Mr. Spicoli?

Jeff Spicoli: Dude, we wanted it to be bodacious, but instead it was bogus.

Prof. A: Why was that Jeff?

JS: Like dude, it was like….half price…fifteen bucks for what we thought was an awesome bottle. We were stoked to catch a cool buzz…and we drank the whole thing and none of my homies got faced. Whassup with that Mr. A?

Prof A: Remember Jeff, there is so much craven, corporate calculation behind the menu at the Macaroni Grill, the accountants who run this food factory figure if they put a big bottle of wine in front of you, and tell you how good and cheap it is, people will buy it, and be happy even if it has half the alcohol it claims to possess. It wouldn’t surprise me if it had about 7-8% alcohol, because that’s what it tasted like…besides a grape-flavored gummy bear.

As with their wine, this company strains throughout its operation to create perceived value in everything it sells. Notice all the special menus, the kid’s menus, and lunch specials, and business specials and specials for those on the go, and crayons on the table and oodles of that awful wine at disgustingly cheap prices. And the calorie counts. Especially the calorie counts. They give the illusion of healthiness which persuades fools to feast on all the fakery.

Class (in unison): But how do they stay so busy?

Keep in mind students, Macaroni Grill is owned by the Brinker Corporation — the same empire that foists Maggiano’s on the public. No matter how bland, or base the insult to the cuisine of Italy, all it has to do is maintain a huge, splashy ad campaign, and spend millions of dollars telling the credulous public how authentic, and “homey” the food is, and it does the trick.

Works every time.


2400 West Sahara Ave.

Las Vegas, NV 89102


7 thoughts on “Bad Italian Food Review – MACARONI GRILL

  1. Just to be clear, the Federal Government only allows for a 1% difference in stated alcohol by volume vs actual ABV. Not sure if you were serious about the half the alcohol comment.
    I agree Macaroni Grill is a good example of what is wrong with eating habits in America, but frivolously accusing them of fraud is maybe going a little far.

  2. ELV responds: Steve accurately quotes the Federal regulations, but any winemaker will tell you, there can be a wide swing between the stated and actual alcohol % in any batch or bottle of wine due to residual sugars, additional fermentation, testing errors, etc…
    More specifically (and anecdotal-ly), ELV has drunk the huge, cheap house wine at MG on several occasions (that claims to be 12% alcohol) and never caught even the slightest buzz….something we get easily from an 8% Riesling after a couple of glasses.
    Despite its rich red color (too red for a Sangiovese, actually), and gum-drop taste, we’d be shocked if MG wine even approaches that strength.
    It’s the same con Battista’s uses — practically give away cheap, weak wine, and create perceived value in the product. No one gets too drunk and everyone’s happy….except alcoholics.
    ELV stands by his accusation.

  3. As to John’s comment, point well taken, but consider this: If all ELV does is dissect the kaiseki dinner at Raku (upcoming btw), or tell you how ethereal the pintade is at Guy Savoy (or the aged beef at Carnevino), he is accused of being a snob, and many wonder: “Why doesn’t he review places I can afford?”

    If he tells you how lousy your favorite mom and pop pizzeria or sushi bar is (which many are), he hurts a small business and is accused of being mean.

    Attacking corporate chains is a fair fight, and allows him to call a spade a spade* and critique food that is clearly doing our diets and the American public no good, and maybe, just maybe, causing one or two of you to question why you ever went there in the first place.

    Just like a proselytizing vegetarian, we seek to wean Americans away from the cheap, fast and fatty chains that have turned us into the unhealthiest First World nation on earth. The more we scream about how bad corporate restaurants are, the more (we hope) someone will hear us.

    * Anyone who calls a spade a spade should be forced to use one. – Oscar Wilde

  4. Americans know that chain restaurants are bad for them. You can’t watch the Today Show, Good Morning America, or any other “news” program for a week without it being said so. They know that ‘All Natural’ is just buzzword these days. They are just too lazy to change.

    Cynical as it sounds, it doesn’t matter how loud you say it, or how many times you say it. The masses will continue to eat what is put in front of them. What is advertised on television the most. What they see on the side of the road after that exit home. It’s sad, I agree.

    Hell, before I started reading your blog, I was one of those people. I still think you’re a bit of a snob, but I’d rather read what you have to say about Raku (one of my favorites now after I went out and tried it) or Guy Savoy (practically on my bucket list at this point) over some shit you tried out of populist guilt.

    Sometimes you’re a bit harsh. Sometimes you hurt someone’s feelings. However, you’re pretty fair. If they didn’t make shitty food or have shitty service, maybe you’d have something nice to say. Right?

    The bottom line is it’s important to have standards.

Comments are closed.