Thursday, May 19, 2011

San Jose: Maggiano's

Sunday was girls' day at Santana Row for me and Elyse.  Lunch was our first priority, and we decided on Maggiano's because Elyse had been before and enjoyed it, and also because business appeared to be booming (unlike the Cajun place next door).  Maggiano's dining space manages to be both airy and cozy (I think it's the combination of high ceilings and dark furniture/upholstery); there is also a bar space in front that seems to be more of a holding/waiting area.  We were immediately seated in a comfortable four-person booth, and we had a great server who was both efficient and sweet.  It was hard to say no to fresh bread with olive oil and balsamic vinegar, so we didn't.

This menu doesn't throw any curveballs - this is a place for familiar Italian dishes, not "innovative cuisine" - and it was relatively easy for us to select a salad and a chicken dish to share.  First came our chopped salad with tomatoes, avocado, and blue cheese; we requested that the prosciutto be omitted.  I don't remember what exactly the dressing was, though I know it was on the creamy side and fortunately not present in an obnoxious quantity.  While the salad could have used some more avocado, it was otherwise very good.

For our entree we shared the chicken "Francese," which consisted of two large pieces of flattened chicken breast with a Parmesan crust, served with some arugula and a lemon butter sauce, accompanied by crisp potatoes.  I was impressed by how tender and moist the chicken was, without any dry bits whatsoever, and also that all the other elements of this dish were just as strong.

Both the salad and chicken were the perfect size for sharing, i.e., too large for one person individually.  We were completely sated and actually passed on dessert (though we later got coconut milk tea and a toffee blended confection at Fantasia).