Friday, March 27, 2009

And Sometimes You Can (Go Home)

I've written about Marie's Restaurant located in Wadsworth, OH before and after my sort of disastrous meal at the Chicken Manor Restaurant in my last post, I decided that I needed an Italian food intervention to set things straight.

While my normal order is a medium pepperoni pizza, this time I decided to try something on the menu that I hadn't ordered before, the lasagna. One of Marie's strengths (besides their pizzas) has always been their marinara sauce and varieties of pastas. Add on to that fact that Marie's makes their lasagna daily from scratch and you can see what motivated me to order it.

First, my garden salad with side of French dressing:

Pretty standard stuff, and flavor profiles were in line with what I was expecting. The one thing I did notice were the cheese and croutons -- in a good way. The cheese was freshly grated and didn't overwhelm the salad and the croutons, which I have no doubt in my mind were not homemade, were actually decent. Flavorful without being overly salty and processed.

Next up is the lasagna. As with most places, you'll notice two things about the lasagna. The portion is huge, and it's largely invisible underneath a mountain of sauce:

This was a nicely constructed lasagna. However, the lasagna itself was not the star ... the *sauce* was the star. This was a marinara sauce that comes across as a meat sauce. The "meatiness" in the dish was amazing. The depth of tomato flavor that they developed when making the sauce just screams "umami". It's the same sauce that is used on their pizzas and I am beginning to realize why their pizzas are also SO good. I only ate about half of the lasagna and took the rest home for a second meal.

Finally, a shot of some proper garlic breadsticks and more of that delicious marinara sauce, this time used as a dipping sauce:

The garlic breadsicks were tasty and better than average, but still not a standout. In other words, the breadsticks alone are not enough to draw me into Marie's. Then again, being paired with more of that stellar marinara sauce is enough to elevate even the most mediocre of dishes.

Once again I have to heartily recommend Marie's for the aficionado of anything having to do with "red sauce" Italian places. It's nice to know that I can go home (literally) and find an excellent plate of pasta.

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