Thanks to all the hounds who contributed to my earlier post comparing Romano's to Maggiano's, I learned that they are both owned by the same company that owns Chili's.
I've never even thought about eating at a Chili's, but today my DW and I had lunch at our recently opened Romano's in Sherman Oaks.
All I can say is that I was extremely impressed at what we were served, particularly given that this is part of a chain.
First off they brought some freshly baked rosemary bread that was drizzled with olive oil. Very good.
We ordered an app of calamari fritti to share. This really suprised me; it was terrrific. It was very tender, perfectly crispy and very lightly coated. It also had about equal portions of rings and tentacles and contained two dipping sauces; a spicy tomato and a creamy garlic, both of them quite good.
My wife had some sort of salad with chicken that I wasn't impressed with, but I followed with linguine with clams in white sauce that I thought was delicious. The pasta was al dente and the sauce had a perfectly spicy finish at the end.
At this particular location (the Sherman Oaks Galleria) there is a Cheesecake Factory, an El Torito Grill and a P.F. Changs. All of these are completely unworthy to me, but I look forward to returning to Romano's. What a nice surprise!