Sunday, September 19, 2010

Canon Restaurant Review: Romano's Macaroni Grill, Buford, GA

Earlier this evening, myself and 36 other people went to Buford and dined at Romano's Macaroni Grill to celebrate the birthday of a friend. Okay, it wasn't 36 people, more like 14. Nevertheless, that's a lot of people to sit at one table. Actually, it was three tables turned into one table, but you know what I mean.

We get there, and wait a couple of minutes outside while the staff gets our tables set up. Well, at first we didn't have enough room, so the staff had to set up another series of tables so everybody had enough room to move around in the place. Even without our mass of tables, the dining area did seem a bit crowded, as there didn't look to be too much room between tables. The dining area itself is somewhat dimly lit, as it was to read the menu with the lack of light in the place. I would prefer a more well-lit area, but that's just me and others probably don't mind as much as I did. Romano's has an open kitchen, so diners can view their food being cooked if they are close enough. This did me little good, as we were on the other side, but I found it to be interesting.

The waiting staff provided us some bread and a plate of appetizers before our order came. The bread was all right, not the best nor the worst I've ever had. The appetizer plate contained some calamari, some toasted bread, a giant cheese stick type dish called a mozzarella fritta, and a couple of slices of Parmesan cheese. I must say that the toasted bread was better than the untoasted bread, and the fried calamari was also quite tasty, particularly when dipped in the marinara sauce. I wish I could have tasted the mozzarella fritta, but that sucker was gone before I could look up.

As far as the main dish, it took a while for me to decide. Originally I was trying to decide between the Lobster Ravioli and the Chicken Parmesan, but I really wasn't in the mood for Chicken Parmesan, and I was kind of worried that the lobster in the Lobster Ravioli would be frozen, and I've seen enough episodes of Kitchen Nightmares to know that frozen lobster is nowhere near the same as fresh lobster. Call me crazy, but that's why I didn't get the ravioli. Instead, I went with a dish called the Penne Rustica. According to the menu, the Penne Rustica is "Succulent shrimp, roasted chicken and aged prosciutto tossed with Parmesan cream sauce and imported penne pasta, then baked until golden." Well, that sounded good enough to me. Other people ordered dishes such as the lobster ravioli, chicken parmasen, grilled prime pork loin, and I think somebody got a New York strip steak, but who the heck knows?

Since our party had 14 people, and the rest of the restaurant was filled with diners, it took a good while to get all of the food served, but not terribly long. I digged in to the Penne Rustica, and there were parts of the dish that were satisfactory, such as the penne pasta and the chicken, which was nicely cooked. The sauce wasn't too bad, and it had a little bit of a tarty kick to it. The shrimp, however, was quite rubbery, and I don't want to accuse anybody of using frozen shrimp, but by golly that shrimp tasted as if it had in the freezer for a while. The waiting staff was quite attentive at first, but once the dishes came, it became nearly impossible to get a refill on a drink or get the tables cleared for desserts.

Overall, even though most of my dining companions seemed to enjoy their dishes a lot, I can't say that I shared their enthusiasm for Romano's Macaroni Grill. It wasn't bad, and if I were asked to dine there again, I wouldn't exactly refuse, but overall I was slightly disappointed, to be honest. Overall, I'll give Romano's a 5.4 out 10. Well, thanks for reading, and if you have any ideas for future reviews, or comments about this review, then share them either by leaving a comment or by sending me an e-mail at

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