Friday, July 13, 2012

Restaurant Review: Buca di Beppo (Maple Grove Location

Most of us at Buca fro Daren's 25th birthday
Back in June our good friend Daren turned the ripe age of 52... I mean 25. It was a big one because he is the first of my friends to do so. If you couldn't already tell, we are pretty tight with Daren and his family. We try to get together once a week, and you will often find us over at his house where Mark will be playing MLB The Show with Daren's little brother Jeff. So when his birthday rolled around he and his family kindly invited us along for a birthday dinner at Buca. If you recall, Mark and I had recently tried Buca for the first time and were anxious to try it again.

We went with Daren, Jeff, their parents (Daryl & Sue), their aunt (Cheryl), and her roommate (Patty). Once we were seated the complimentary bread basket was delivered. Forgetting our previous experience, we made the mistake of eating some. It was a regrettable decision; sorry Buca two strikes and you are out with the bread basket.

Next we started looking at the menu, which turned into Mark and I getting schooled on the way Buca works. As it turns out each entree serves at least two people and there is still a good chance you will have leftovers. So Mark and I sat back and let Daren and his family take care of the ordering because we were rather lost.
First up was a cheese and garlic bread appetizer. The bread was unfortunately the same kind that came in the bread basket. Luckily the cheese and garlic on top were really good, but what made the dish absolutely amazing was the marinara sauce. Buca has the sauce down! I could eat it plain, which Daren did later in the night (see below).
Garlic cheese bread appetizer with the amazing marinara sauce
Then came all the entrees we had ordered. Mark and I just stared in amazement at the sheer amount of food that was put on the table. Since the pepperoni pizza was placed closest to us, I will start with that. Mark and I high hopes and big expectations for this pizza given how great of an experience we had last time with their margarita pizza. Although the crust was nice and crisp, the pizza itself was just too greasy and salty. I'm not sure if it was the amount of pepperoni or what, but something was off.
Daren about to take a bite out of the 2' by 1' pepperoni pizza
 So our rating of the pepperoni pizza from Buca di Beppo is this:

1. Crust: 8 - Again, its a thin crust that actually holds up well.

2. Sauce: 8.5 - Although it didn't shine through as much this time around, I know it was there and how delicious it probably tasted.

3. Toppings: 5 - A lot of pepperoni, maybe too much?

Overall we gave it a 6, it just didn't come together.

Next to the pizza was the fettucini alfredo, which we ordered it with added chicken. The dish was pretty good and the parmesan cheese on top especially stood out. We really enjoyed the fact that the alfredo wasn't as salty as many of the other dishes. We would probably order this again.

Daren, being as he was the birthday boy, got to pick out an entree to order. He went with the chicken parmigiana (which I think is the same thing as chicken parmesan) and overall it was really good. It's safe to say this entree was everyones favorite as there were no leftovers.
Fuzzy picture of the fettucini alfredo and the chicken parmigiana
As a side dish we ordered Cheryl's favorite, the garlic mashed potatoes. Given Mark and I are both garlic fans and potato fans we loved this. They tasted very garlicky and Buca left the skins on, just the way I like 'em.
Garlic mashed potato side dish
We had a great time at Buca with Daren and his family and are so thankful to have all of them in our lives. They are the nicest, most good-hearted group of people I have ever known. So happy birthday Daren (and Jeff) and thanks for inviting us for your family birthday dinner.
Using the front facing camera on the iPhone 4s,
not its best feature
One of my plates
Birthday boy with his Buca birthday candles
Just eating the marinara sauce like its a separate dish
Moral of the story: Buca is delicious, fun, and over the top with portions. Go there with a group and create your own buffet by ordering 3-4 entrees. Then loosen your belt buckle and indulge. Good luck saving room for dessert.

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