Today for dinner, I stopped at the Macaroni Grill, off Eager Road in Brentwood MO. I have only gone to that place, or another by the same name, two or three times before. I recall particularly being wined and dined by my brother and then-sister-in-law at a Macaroni Grill in the Twin Cities; on that occasion, our waiter was actually an opera singer who belted out bel canto arias as part of the service.
These days, coloratura is not a pre-requisite for shoveling pasta at the Macaroni Grill. However, a lovely young lady named Cheryl gave me very cheerful service. Besides being a spiffy server, she is also good at writing her name upside down with two crayons on the paper tablecloth (I know that's an oxymoron). I finished two tall glasses of raspberry lemonade (mwah!), about a quarter of the oven-warm slab of rosemary bread that came gratis with the meal, two meatballs and about half of an order of spaghetti in red sauce, which came in a bowl large enough to take a bath in. I stopped eating when it began to hurt to breathe. When Cheryl came to clear my dishes away (and to get me a doggy-bag of substantial size) I made her laugh by remarking that the dish rivaled the size of certain impact craters.
The food was not just plentiful; it was good. In the past I have had their chicken marsala (which put that dish on my short list of favorites) and manicotti. I look forward, at some future time (after I do some dieting), to trying their seafood pasta with clams, scallops, and linguine in a white wine sauce. Today I just had their basic spaghetti and meatballs, which was just right: boulder-size hunks of delicately seasoned meat, a heap of fork-tender spaghetti, and an abundance of a mild, savory, orangish variant on the classic marinara recipe - not too sweet (like some restaurants' recipe), not overpoweringly spicy, rather comfortingly like Chef Boyardee's sauce - only with more subtlety.
The leftovers will not last long.