I made my first trip to Marie's
tonight, with a couple of neighbors of mine. While it wasn't the best pizza I've ever had, it reminded me of the pizza I ate growing-up on the South Side of Chicago in the 1950s-60s - the cracker crust
Marie's features some $2 appetizer-like specials on Tuesday's and prior to the large mushroom/onion pizza we sampled an Italian Beef sandwich, an Italian Sausage in red sauce (with meat), a Greek Salad, and an Antipasta Salad (each a small serving but easily shared by 3 people). The beef was lean and well-cooked, but lacked any descernable taste of spices. The sausage was made without casing and had a soft almost soggy texture but the red sauce with the delayed pucker effect
saved it. The salads were good, fresh and the salami on the antipasta plate rose above everything else.
When I eat pizza now I use what Coalfire serves as my standard against which I compare other fare, and Marie's wasn't much competition - but it's a different style pizza and therefore any such comparison isn't of much value. I thought the pizza was bland, lacked flavor - but, oddly, I enjoyed it nonetheless. However, one of my companions at the table is in her mid-90's, has been to Coalfire with me - and she declared the pizza the best she'd ever eaten. "Now, this is a meal!" she proclaimed.
Accompanying the meal we drank from a bottle of Fortissimo
- my favorite home-style red table wine, which I was surprised to find on a shelf in the attached liquor store. I like the feature at Marie's where diners can choose one of the scores of wines in the liquor store and have the bottle delivered to the table and served, at retail price, with just a small corkage fee added.
The restaurant was better than 50% full, bar and restaurant seating, and the one waitress on duty handled the chores well - we weren't ignored nor were we pestered. We ate in the dining room, not the bar.
For dessert we shared a tortoni ice cream and cannoli. The tortoni was spumoni without the coloring. The cannoli was 'day old' but okay.
The tab for the food and wine came to $48, before tip. Three people dining-out can't have as good a time as we did, eating and being with one another, for much less than we paid tonight.
It was a good but not great meal and if I'm in the area in the future and hungry I won't hesitate to stop back, and maybe I'll give some of the other menu offerings a try.