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Restaurant Tue Oct 02 2007
Chain restaurants typically don't lure me, but I like Macaroni Grill. Their service is fun. Servers write their names on butcher paper that's used as a tablecloth. Somehow that doesn't seem cliché there - at least not to me. Perhaps it's because various colors of crayons let you play as you sip large juice glasses of a rather smooth house Chianti and tear apart gratis focaccia. The bread is best mopped around in plenty of olive oil that's been peppered, salted and squeezed with fresh lemon. Customize your pasta. A sauce of garlic olive oil really brings out the flavor and texture of sundried tomatoes, caramelized onions, spinach, pine nuts and broccoli. They say to choose up to three (PDF), but will gladly add more on for a few cents. A rigatoni's thick tubes have just the right size hole to help your fork scoop up all these veggies.
21 Blanchard Circle, Wheaton (also in Hoffman Estates)