I’m happy to have Tio Wally (long-time Me So Hungry reader) aboard to send in his eating adventures from across America. Here he is in Fort Worth, Texas.
Greetings from Fort Worth, Texas
N 32° 51.4275’ W 097° 18.7523’ Elev. 628 ft.
I am an extremely independent person, completely unfazed in thought and deed by outside influences. My evil twin Skippy, however, is exactly the opposite. He is easily swayed by outside influences, especially when he’s hungry and he sees advertisements (food porn!) on the teebee.
That’s why he forced me to drive through the very definition of hell that is Dallas/Fort Worth one rainy night recently so he could try the Classic Italian Bake ($15.50) at Romano’s Macaroni Grill.
There is NO worse metropolitan area in the United States than DFW. It’s sole claim to fame, I think, is that in addition to having absolutely no redeeming qualities — None! — is that it is an endless, poorly marked construction zone. It is truly a testament to the breathtaking idiocy that is the definitive characteristic of Texas. Remember: These are the same yahoos that idolize The Alamo. (For those of you who don’t know the story, the “brave Texans” were massacred. Were they dumb? Yes. Was their audacious stupidity something to be proud of? In Texas, of course!) That said, if you’ve never been to Dullard/Fort Worthless consider yourself blessed and Don’t Go!
We called in the order thinking we were calling the restaurant. As it turned out we were actually talking to some lady at Romano’s To-Go Order Central; I suspect it was in Dallas as that’s where the restaurant chain is headquartered. I guess this could be considered an efficient way to do things. But when the lady at To-Go Order Central started to read descriptions from the menu we became, well, suspicious. Nevertheless, we ordered the viddles Skippy saw in the food porn, along with a side salad ($3).
When we finally arrived we were initially pissed off and fit to be tied. We thought the place was closed. The big sign on the pole was unlit, the entrance to the restaurant was dark and there wasn’t a single car in the parking lot. We called To-Go Order Central back and one of the options was for “curbside service.” So we pushed “3” for chuckles and were surprised when it was immediately answered. The nice lady asked if we were calling for “curbside service” and, after a few seconds of mutual befuddlement, she spotted the SS Me So Hungry power unit (we had no trailer at the time) forlornly parked in front of the restaurant.
She brought out a large shopping bag with rattan-like handles containing our grub. “Cool. We get new luggage!” Skippy excitedly exclaimed. The bag contained the Classic Italian Bake, the Fresh Greens salad and a great looking 6-inch square hunk of Italian bread, which they call a “roll.”
The salad was spectacular. Comprised of assorted leaf lettuces and ripe red pear tomatoes, it was extremely refreshing and complimented nicely by the house Italian dressing and croutons.
The Classic Italian Bake (homemade meatballs, Italian sausage, rustic tomato sauce, rigatoni, roasted tomatoes, creamy ricotta, basil) likewise was really good. While the meatballs could’ve been seasoned a little heavier for my taste, they worked. The Italian sausage however was quite hot and, thus, really great. Indeed, they may have the best Italian sausage I’ve run into on the road. The rigatoni was perfectly cooked and the roasted tomatoes were really wonderful. A real treat was the ricotta. It was definitely creamy and quite an outstanding touch.
But the bread … the bread. We forgot about the bread. By the time we’d dragged it 1,000 miles it was hard as a rock. This was a real disappointment. We’d expended the effort to get extra olive oil for dipping — we failed to ask for balsamic vinegar. D’oh! — and, well, we’ll never know what the bread was like. It was literally petrified when we remembered we had it; we couldn’t even break it with our hands. Sure, we had a hammer and a screwdriver but … what’s the point? It was an epic bread fail on our part.
Romano’s has a really interesting menu. Judging by what I’ve tasted I could easily see returning to try some of their other fare. It’s reasonably priced with generous portions. I do wonder, though, How the hell do you grill macaroni anyway? Seriously.
And so we roll.
Romano’s Macaroni Grill, 6300 North Freeway, Fort Worth, Texas
and over 200 other locations around the world
Tio Wally pilots the 75-foot, 40-ton(max) land yacht SS Me So Hungry. He reports on road food from around the country whenever parking and InterTube connections permit.