Monday, May 21, 2012

Maxi's in Little Italy

I'm not even sure how I am awake at this hour this morning. Yesterday was event #1 of three within three weeks of each other that I am working on right now, and with only three hours of sleep the night before, a 3:45AM wake-up call, and a dinner event to attend last night after my walk was all said and done...I don't really feel human today.

Last week was a flurry of last minute event details, and plenty of stress. I fell off the WW bandwagon for several days, but it's back to it today! While I knew that I wasn't counting points, we decided to indulge in some Italian food on Thursday night. Work errands on the east side of Cleveland prompted "R" and I to finally use our gift certificate to Maxi's Bistro in Little Italy.

In the heart of it all on Mayfield Road, they offer a couple of outdoor tables, an expansive bar and small casual dining area downstairs, and then a more formal dining room upstairs. We just saddled up to the bar, and had excellent service from the bartender throughout the meal.

I knew that I wanted to start with the Stuffed Banana Peppers.
Two good sized peppers arrived swimming in a marinara sauce. I enjoyed the dish, but agreed with "R" that the flavor of the sausage could have been more prominent. The pepper was cooked well with a great subtle heat, and the sauce was flavorful and perfect for dipping our warm bread into. I find that so many marinara sauces are pretty bland when dining out, but this was not the case.

Two things determined my entree for me: red pepper and shrimp.
This penne in a spicy vodka sauce had my name written all over it. The portion was huge for $18, and I took more than half of it home.

But "R" had the winning dish of the night. He ordered the goat cheese and roasted tomato ravioli, but the kitchen made a mistake and served him the Spinach Ravioli dish instead. Who cared? Not us! The raviolis were so light and airy, and the stuffing was delicious. However, the Alfredo sauce that it came with was outstanding and had us both licking his plate. I was so happy that I had saved half a piece of bread. It went right into the sauce left on his plate! Only complaint...the dish included just four ravioli. They weren't large, and for the price- the dish should have included one or two more.

I haven't really enjoyed the handful of restaurants that I've tried in Little Italy, other than Washington Place Bistro (duh) and Trattoria's gnocchi. But Maxi's easily is the best overall meal we've had in the area's traditional Italian restaurants. Now I just need to check out Michelangelo's...

What's your favorite restaurant in Cleveland's Little Italy? What is the best dish there?

Maxi's Bistro
12113 Mayfield Road
Cleveland, OH 44106


Suzanne said...

Those stuffed banana peppers in that sauce are one of my favorite dishes in Cleveland. I think it's the sauce that does it for me. I love Maxi's!!!

Bite Buff said...

You're the reason we went, and why we ordered that! Thanks. :)

bonnjill said...

I agree about the portion size of the ravioli at Maxi's. I felt ripped off when I saw 4 ravioli for the price. Sure, they were good, but I wanted a couple more too. If you go back order a pizza. It's really good.

You'll love Michaelangelo's! If you go, you have to order a half-order of the sacchetti al tartufo. OMG, so good!