Mad for Garlic Review

Friday, May 30, 2008

For a franchise restaurant, it’s not bad. Once you get past the gimmicky name, “Mad for Garlic,” you realize that this is a place that has reliable and fun Italian food- and there are even some standout dishes. This is a great restaurant to take a crowd (the vast menu has something for everyone) and the stylish interior is great for a date.

I am a sucker for novelty. And when I went to “Mad for Garlic” I decided to simply have fun. My date and I started out with the Dracula Killer: roasted garlic with anchovies served with baguette. I thought it was a bit too oily, but the subtle sweetness of the garlic paired well with the fish. My date loved it and sent the waiter for more and more bread so she could get at every drop of the garlicky oil. The Sautéed Fresh Mussels was another nice starter, but I would stay away from the Garlic Fondue. The amount of cheese given was an utter disappointment and where were the fondue forks?

On to course two: Fresh Spinach Salad. So do garlic, bacon, and balsamic dressing get along with spinach? Why, yes. The caramelized garlic, tart balsamic, and the savory bacon are an eclectic ensemble on the bed of crisp greens. Next time, I’ll have to try the Pasa Pasa Salad: lettuce stuffed with teriyaki sautéed mushrooms.

For the main course we decided on the trendy “Gorgonzola Pizza” and the Jalapeño Garlic Rice with Steak. The Gorgonzola Pizza is one of my favorite items at Mad for Garlic. The tangy bleu cheese on the nice oven baked crust always entices me to eat a little bit more. The Jalapeno Garlic Rice was just ok. The steak was too moist because it absorbed the steam from the rice and the spicy peppers and the garlic didn’t exactly “marry.” It’s not a standout in my mind, but my date (whom must not have eaten for days prior to our get together) loved the rice. She said that- like many Koreans- “the meal is not complete without rice.”

We ended the meal with a nice strong espresso. We skipped the dessert, even though the Lemon Cake did look tempting. And after an evening of garlic we also decided to forego the good night kiss. It didn’t seem wise to ruin a perfectly fine meeting. Next time I’ll come prepared with a toothbrush for two.

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