In the second installment of our new blog series “The Chefs at NorthPark,” I sat down with Maggiano’s executive chef David Duron to discuss their new feature dishes and family style menu. Not only did I learn about the delicious menu items, but I got a real sense of why the NorthPark location stands out from the rest. The answer is customer service!
Chef David has been with the company for 15 years, working his way up from dishwasher to executive chef. He realized his love for cooking as a teenager when he made an omelet using leftovers in his refrigerator. “I remember that omelet because it was so fluffy, so flavorful…I knew I wanted to be a chef.” The key to his success now is that he has been a server, a bartender, and the kitchen manager, so he understands the flow of a restaurant and how to keep all of the pieces in order. Another fun fact about chef David is that seven of his family members also work for the company in various locations throughout the United States. Maggiano’s is truly a part of his family.
As he placed all of the dishes on the table, my eyes opened wider and wider. First, the wine was poured. Ruffino Salute Amico in a red or white blend is made in Italy and bottled specifically for Maggiano’s restaurants. It is featured on their happy hour menu. We started the tasting with the candied bacon and ricotta bruschetta, which is only available through February 25. The smokiness of the bacon paired nicely with the balsamic fig glaze and arugula.
Another great appetizer is the complimentary Italian Antipasti that is available on their family style menu. Available for parties of four or more, the three-course meal is only $19.95 per person. There are so many options on the menu including a lot of their signature items such as the crispy zucchini fritte and their famous rigatoni “D”.
One of my favorite dishes of the day was the lighter take four-cheese ravioli. It has 36% fewer calories than the original so you won’t feel guilty afterwards. We sampled the roasted vegetable lasagna that includes a four-cheese blend and pomodoro sauce.
Another table favorite was the short rib cacciatore. Imagine the most tender slow-cooked short rib topped with a red wine tomato sauce over pappardelle pasta. This is also on their feature menu which means you should stop by before February 25 to order.
Lastly, we tasted their feature dessert, the chocolate marshmallow torte. Words can’t even describe how I felt after my first bite. The bottom layer is a graham cracker crust then a chocolate ganache layer with a gooey marshmallow on top. I would definitely make sure to leave room for dessert! If you are too full, you can order a mini dessert sampler to share with the table.
Dining at Maggiano’s Little Italy at NorthPark Center is truly a wonderful experience thanks to the staff and chef David Duron. You may see him walking around, talking with the guests and sharing his passion for the food they are serving. To make a reservation call 214.360.0707.