I have now had this blog for over a year and from the start, people have said I have to go to Margie's. Because of my general distrust of all random people on the internet (ever since that awkward Craigslist incident) I rarely believe them (just kidding). However, this time I have suffered the consequences of my procrastination and mistrust.
Margie's is on Spur 580/Camp Bowie West, past Loop 820 (East Abilene) and is located in the upscale area next to the Knotty Pine Bar. The restaurant has been around since 1953 and has apparently figured out the "good italian food" thing. I'm ashamed that I've been in this area my entire life and only been to this restaurant once.
The Mrs. and I went over to Margie's for dinner one night after finally giving in to all the recommendations (and needing a restaurant on that side of town). As we approached, we were skeptical, but only because we felt like I needed to grow a mustache and change my name to Dale and she needed to change her name to Rhonda. I don't know why I would think that but the Knotty Pine probably had something to do with it.
If you haven't been - raise your hand [/everybody looks at me] - its a small restaurant with approximately 20 tables at the front and a bar in the back. There's also a jukebox that plays country and oldies (from what I heard) and I'm hoping to find out there is some Journey. It's quaint by all means and immediately makes you think you're about to get something special. I was just hoping it was food.
Our waiter recommended a bunch of stuff but I'm a tool and always get the chicken parmigiana. My wife got the spaghetti and meatballs. Bold move on both parts... We were actually conducting a very distinct and highly scientific test. There are four things an Italian restaurant must get right: sauce, chicken parmigiana, bread and meatballs. And fettuccine alfredo. And wine. And salad. And mafia hits.
I'm glad to report that the high standards set by the Hole in the Wall crew were exceeded.
In my opinion, the marinara sauce at most places is wrong. It's usually sour/tangy or too sharp. Many places don't take into account that sauces that make you pucker are better used for paint stripper. Margie's sauce is smooth and just a bit sweet and has a terrific taste. Check.
The chicken parmigiana dish is normally screwed up by every place in the world. It's supposed to be thin and crispy. Check. Its supposed to have cheese but not be mistaken for a piece of queso flameada. Check. Its supposed to be covered in marinara. Check. Good marinara. Double check. On the side of my chicken parmigiana came a surprise...not just spaghetti, but fettuccine alfredo. Good fettuccine. Creamy and flavorful. Check.
Wine. Check. Comes in little glasses, just like they drink out of in Serbia or where ever wine glasses are not available.
Meatballs. Tender and juicy with a delicious flavor. After checking with the waiter we discovered that they were in fact cooked in the sauce. Can you believe some people don't do this? Of course you can - you believe most of my lies. Don't you? Great meatballs. Check.
But quite possibly the greatest part of this entire meal was the bread. The bread was hot and buttered up and was perfect for dipping in the marinara. It probably helped that we got it comped but it would still be worth it if I had to trade in the kid at the next table. Check.
The salad was also good and didn't come with that lame excuse for dressing of marinara sauce with some extra oil in it. The salad also had more than just lettuce. Check.
So all in all, it was a wonderful meal. I feel like Will Ferrell in Old School when he's talking about the big party the next day and he keeps saying "I had an AWESOME time", even though all of his friends know that. You all knew I'd enjoy it. You don't mind if I tell everybody you're my friends right?
I had an AWESOME time. The food was great, the service was great and the atmosphere is perfect for a small hole in the wall.
If you haven't been, you're the only person left and we're all talking about you now on our social networking website (http://www.peoplewhohavebeentomargies-space.com/). Jealous much?
When you go, if you hear some Journey and see some guy eating the chicken parmigiana and singing along, say hi and we can talk like we're two regulars in our favorite Italian joints. AWESOME.