If you watched me on Talk of the Town earlier this month, you already know that one of my frugal date tips is to celebrate Valentine’s Day on a day other than Valentine’s Day! That’s why I was so excited when I learned that Maggiano’s Little Italy was offering a special Valentine’s Day Menu for two…but for an entire week!
That’s right, from now until February 16, you can take advantage of the special Maggiano’s Valentine’s Menu for two for only $79 and to top it all off, two lucky SamiCone.com readers will each win a $25 gift card in time for Valentine’s Day!
Ricky and I got to celebrate an early Valentine’s Day last night at the Maggianos on West End in Nashville and sample this special menu. My uber-organized, detail-oriented husband love the fact that within ten minutes we had already been greeted, seated, welcomed by our server (Marcos), and received drinks, bread AND lemons/limes. (Believe me, this has not happened to us much lately!)
This may not seem like much to many of you, but Marcos even added the cherry for a pop of color! Gotta love the attention to detail. What impressed me even more was that as he refilled our water, he also restocked our citrus. One of my biggest restaurant pet peeves is when servers bring you one lemon for the entire meal (if you refill my water, doesn’t it make sense to refill my lemon stock too???) Marcos was not only gracious, but his attentiveness in areas like this made our meal even more enjoyable.
Ok, enough about my drinking idiosyncrasies and on to the food!
Take a look at the special Valentine’s Day menu for two:
Trying to choose an appetizer between the two of us was a bit challenging. Ricky is not a fan of mushrooms and I’m not a fan of zucchini, but we’d already tried their delicious Bruschetta, so we wanted to dive into something new. When I asked Marcos about the Crispy Zucchini, he confessed that he never liked zucchini until he tried this dish. He proceeded to describe in detail the process of how the chef combined both panko and their house made breadcrumbs to coat the thin planks of zucchini to make it both flavorful and extra crispy. That was enough for me.
They did not disappoint. The Crispy Zucchini was utterly delightful. I even dipped it into the lemon aioli (and I am not normally a fan of side sauces like this), but it provided the perfect cool, crisp and smooth undertone to the hot, crunchy appetizer.
I also just had to try the stuffed mushrooms – what a clever mixture of spinach, cheese, gratin bread crumbs and garlic butter! My only wish was that the Maggiano’s Valentine’s Day Menu offered an appetizer sampler of all three appetizer options so we could have indulged in each of them!
For the next course, each guest had the option of choosing one salad; this was perhaps the most difficult decision of the night. I could literally make a meal out of any of their salads; the ingredients always taste so fresh and you just cannot beat their homemade dressings!
I eventually landed on the classic Maggiano’s salad and I ‘encouraged’ my husband to order the spinach salad. (We also had the option of choosing their Italian tossed, Caesar of Chopped salads as well). I wish I could describe bite by bite the flavor intricacies I experienced, but I bottom line just inhaled it. There’s something about the combination of house dressing, crispy pancetta, red onion & blue cheese that intoxicated me last night. I barely had time to reach my fork over into Ricky’s salad 😉
For our main course, there were three options: the Lobster Ravioli, Beef Medallions or Chicken Francese.
I had heard such great things about the Lobster Ravioli and since they brought it back just for this special, that’s what I opted for. My hunk of a husband of course decided on the Beef Medallions with crispy onion strings that came in a delightfully creamy balsamic reduction and served alongside garlic mashed potatoes. The medallions typically also come with mushrooms, but since I already mentioned his aversion to funghi, he opted for asparagus instead (my fork did make it over on to that plate!)
My Lobster Ravioli appeared and I have to be completely honest – it wasn’t quite what I had envisioned. I was expected a creamy plate of lobster goodness, but as you can see, the plate before me had a different texture to it:
Marcos checked back after I had taken a bite and could tell I wasn’t thrilled with my selection. It’s not that it was bad, I just imagined a creamier, alfredo-like sauce without the bread crumbs on top.
It was in that moment that I learned first hand what the Maggiano’s 100% satisfaction guarantee looked like (I don’t think that’s an official Maggiano’s term, but it’s obviously a part of their culture because that’s what happened!). Marcos immediately offered to bring me something different, so I opted for the Chicken Francese. Just as soon as he left the table, the sous-chef, Sergio, appeared. Not only did he apologize for my disappointment, but asked for feedback on how they could improve the dish. There’s something amazingly endearing about a restaurant that not only takes criticism well, but also pledges to make things right while asking for suggestions from the customer on how to make things better for future guests!
I only had to wait a few minutes for my new dish to appear, which was nice so that my husband didn’t have to dine alone for very long! The Chicken Francese featured two chicken breasts, pounded thin, crusted in Parmesan and served with lemon butter, a cool arugula salad, and their show-stopping crispy potatoes (honestly, I could have eaten the potatoes alone all night if I hadn’t filled up so quickly on my Maggiano’s salad!)
I couldn’t have been happier! Eventually, I had to stop devouring my chicken and potatoes because I new a dessert course was still in my future…
I was touched by the fact that if I ordered a slice of Boston Cream Pie, a dollar would be donated to the Make-A-Wish foundation. But I just couldn’t pass up the toasted pound cake served over chocolate with caramelized bananas and vanilla bean ice cream! I know! Just look at the crust on those bananas…I’m still dreaming about them…
With the special menu, each guest is then able to choose a special after dinner drink, but being as I’m not a fan of alcohol, we skipped that part (I know, I’m a cheap date!) – it also helped to bring the cost down of the special menu as well!
Now I realize that $79 may not seem like the most ‘frugal’ of date nights, but if you’ve been reading this blog for any amount of time, you know I’m all about saving where you can so you can spend were you want. Not only is the Maggiano’s Valentine’s Day menu a savings over ordering the individual items a la carte, but I also LOVE that they offer it for seven days so that not everyone is fighting over it on Valentine’s Day alone.
Maggiano’s provided me with gift cards to partake in this special menu and they’ve offered me two $25 gift cards to give away! The great part is that we can send the gift cards electronically, so you can still receive them in time to dine on Valentine’s Day if that’s what you choose to do.
So what are you waiting for? Here’s what you have to do to enter:
Leave a comment below with your craziest Valentine’s Day restaurant story.
Did you have to wait so long somewhere that you ended up ordering pizza? Did you dream of one thing, only to end up with another? Whatever it is, we want to hear it! It doesn’t have to be long, just enough to get it off your chest so you can move on to a new memory this year 🙂
For extra entries, do one or all of the following (leave separate comments letting me know you did each):
- Become a Fan on Facebook (SamiCone.com) & SHARE the contest on your Facebook wall (http://samicone.com/?p=10921)
- Follow @TheSamiCone on Twitter & SHARE the contest on Twitter (http://samicone.com/?p=10921)
- Like Maggiano’s Little Italy official Facebook page and leave a comment there with which dish on the Valentine’s Menu you’re most looking forward to trying
- Follow @Maggianos on Twitter & RT the following
I want to try the @Maggianos Valentine’s Day Menu for two thanks to @TheSamiCone http://samicone.com/?p=10921
I’ll pick two winners at random from all entries received before Midnight CST on Sunday, January 13 (This is a quick contest so we can get you your gift in time for Valentine’s Day!). Winners will be contacted by email and once confirmation is received, we will email you your $25 gift card. Good luck and come back next month for another Maggiano’s feature & giveaway!
UPDATE: Congratulations to Mary ( 2) & Poinilinda ( 20) – you’ve each won a $25 gift card from Maggiano’s Little Italy! Check your inbox for instructions on how to receive your prize.