I have eaten in at least 50 "Italian" restaurants in the US over the past 70 years. With the exception of wine service and temperature control, Maria's ranks above average.
We arrived a little before 5 PM on the Monday before Memorial Day, i.e., before the tourist season. The waiter was cheerful and presented the food options very well. The room was a bit cooler than we would have liked., but tolerable. The waiter asked us if we would like to have the overhead fan turned off. We said "yes", but she never did and offered no explanation.
We found the decor to be pleasant and not overbearing. However, if you look closely, the decorations are all Roman Catholic art, especially Marian art. This is indeed "Maria's" garden! I enjoyed looking at the artwork and found some of it to be very interesting.
Service was quick. My wife and I respectively ordered veal and eggplant Parmesan. The veal was ground meat, as it is in all but the most expensive restaurants, but very good. The tomato sauce was excellent, with just the right amount of sweetness and no overt saltiness. Pasta was done to al dente perfection. My wife also ordered onion rings, in which the onions appeared to be fresh. I had a very-enjoyable potato soup, with potatoes and onions cooked just right in light creamy broth. Dinner was served with vey fresh garden salad and superb house creamy-Italian dressing.
Wine is central to Italian cuisine. It does not have to be fancy, but it must be offered competently in any restaurant that calls itself "Italian". Maria's falls flat here because it does not even have a written wine list, much les one with quantity and prices. The waiter had a few brand names hand-written on a piece of paper. At my request, she showed us the bottles, and I chose Carlo Rossi chardonnay from a jug. As to quantity, the waitress asked us if we wanted "two glasses", and I said “yes”. The wine was served well chilled, as it should be, and we each enjoyed the first glass. The problem was that the waitress served two full glasses plus a full carafe, far too much wine for two people at one sitting. I wish I had sent it back for a half-carafe or two single glasses of wine. This flood of good wine debased would have been a great meal.
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