Ferndale >Maria's Front Room
Give Maria's Another Chance!. We ordered take out from Maria's the week it opened and were somewhat disappointed. We ordered the "original" Chicken Marsala and Puntanesca and both dishes were quite bland. Also, whoever put our order together didn't include our salads or pasta side for the Chicken Marsala. However, knowing that any new business needs time to figure out the kinks, we went back three weeks ago, sat in their dining room, ordered differently and had an outstanding meal. We ordered the Pasta Marsala and the Tomato Bruschetta Pasta with Shrimp and it was nothing but spectacular! Since then, we've ordered take out twice. I really hope that anyone who had a less than spectacular experience at Maria's will give them another chance and support your local businesses :)
Some Kinks to Work Out.
Oh, how I miss the old Maria's! The decor was dated and stereotypical (in a really awesome and charming way), the service was decent, and the food was great. I am willing to give the new owners another chance in a few months, but I have to say our experience there was pretty awful. We were the only ones there, and still had to shout to hear each other over the blaring, poorly chosen music. We were given lukewarm water with no ice and bland, spongy bread.
My pasta was overcooked and hadn't been well-drained, as evidenced by the puddle of water at the bottom of the dish. My friend's lasagna was even worse--just totally bland, mushy, and not at all how lasagna should taste. The chicken my other friend has was rubbery and served on a bed of overcooked pasta with bland, ketchup-y marinara on top. The soup was clearly from a can or bag and had little flavor other than salt.
It's basic American Italian food and really hard to mess up too much. I think they'll get the hang of it, but for now it really felt like a waste of money.
I heard incredible things about Maria's Front Room before it closed and reopened under new ownership. People had raved about how good the food and service was. Maybe my expectations were too high?
At a time when people don't have much disposable income, businesses and restaurants should really try to make the experience memorable - in a good way! I love Ferndale's local flavor but Maria's is gonna have to step it up a notch before I even think about going back.
I would go to the Olive Garden before I would think about going to Maria's. :(
NOT. If you think this place has great food, then you don't get out very often. I am so embarrassed that I invited guests assuming that it was as good as before. I wanted to crawl under my table and hide.
The food was better than the service...which is not saying much.
We waited at least 10 minutes for someone to acknowledge us. Finally the hostess that seated us brought us bread and water. She did apologize for the wait. That apology was the highlight of the dining experience. A few minutes later our waitress finally came over. She might have been busy, she might have been smoking, who knows because her opening comment was, "are you ready to order yet?" We waited a solid half an hour for our food, possibly more. When our mystery waitress brought our food, she said the kitchen had gotten backed up and that's why are food had taken so long. This was believable because there was a large party (10-12) that recieved their food before us. I would have thought higher of the service if she had expressed any concern for our satisfaction, or even bothered to communicate with us what was happening. If our waitress does not hate her job, I would be shocked. Now, to be fair to Maria's, a table did come in after us, was greeted promptly by both the hostess and their waitress-who was different than ours-and they received their food quickly.
On to the food...please keep in mind that our total bill was $32. I think this would be on par with a chain italian restaurant. The garlic bread was very close to Crazy Bread, except it had a very strong salt taste. I didn't have soup or salad, they were out of the former and I don't eat the latter. My entree was not good. The veal had a taste very similiar to freezer burn, and overall the dish was bland, especially the marinara. The nice man in the blue shirt was kind enough to ask us how everything was. He was so nice that I didn't have the heart to tell him we won't be returning.
The doors are open again....
That's just a start for the good news. My bride and myself hadn't been at Marias since it was under Buddy"s ownership. Followed the owners Joanie and Carl from Detroit (Grand River location) into Ferndale after its closure there-never take a local boxing promoter as a partner as they tend to feed clientele and skip paying the tab.
Anyway, we made reservations for 12-13 not knowing if we would be facing a dinner rush composed of "Mariaites" or newbies trying out something new. For this day reservations were not really necessary. The classic funky decor which we were familiar with was gone replaced with a more open floor plan and lighting system that was uniform. Alas, my donated ukulele was no longer nailed to the wall nor any other musical instruments.
Our waitress seemed somewhat distant in attitude she didn't appear to be an ambassador for a new-ownership business place that one would think might be a starting point for attracting new customers. Not that we want waitstaff to hover over our every bite or even something close to that. But this isn't drivethru so how about being personable? We were also wondering if the new owner would drop by our table and introduce himself. He didn't and it wasn't because the place was swamped. Didn't expect to peruse his resume but and introduction would have spoke volumes. Joanie made diners feel appreciated something that was blatantly absent this evening. Don't get me wrong we're thrilled this place reopened retaining many of our favorite dishes and reopening a business in these uncertain times.
The food was outstanding starting with the bread to the salad and immensely enjoyed the spinach tortellines . We finished up with desert and called it a great meal. Even the iced tea was perfect.
Bottom line. It's a place renewed that with time could be better than it was only time will tell. The new owner has the food fare right now just get personable from the front door to the back room. We will be returning!
I'm so surprised there are any bad reviews of this place! I've been eagerly awaiting the reopen of Maria's for months now, and while I was a bit hesitant to return when I learned it was under new ownership, I have to say that I'm so glad I came back. The place has been totally redone- it seems much cleaner and classier than before. Service was great, we didn't have to wait for a table and got water and delicious garlic bread right away. I ordered the Pasta Bruschetta (pasta with sauteed vegetables), and my friend ordered the Spinach Tortellini. I tried both, but I was so full of bread and soup (oh yes! They have vegetarian soup! The night we went there it was Potato Leek, with crispy toasted leeks as a garnish) that I could barely make a dent in it. You get a lot of food at this place!
Anyway I wanted to write this as a recommendation of a great restaurant with a lot of interesting vegetarian options, I think it makes a great dinner date!
Our NEW favorite place. Congratulations Marias "Redo" We are so happy that Marias is up and running. I have to say the decor is a breath of fresh air. I dont know how you guys made it feel like there was alot more room than before, but this time around I felt less congested. I heard that you guys have the same menu, and I have to say, thats a lie. There is no way that your ingredients are the same, Your food is Fabulous. I must say I was greeted immediatly at the front door, so I didnt have that akward "were do we sit ?"feeling, in front of everyone. I think the bread is way better than before and the fact that I can eat as much of it as I want, is my favorite part. FYI the Pasta with Pesto is by far the best around. I noticed that the salad choice has changed, but Im not at all upset, because I thought that having more dressing choices was a plus for those who like to experiment. I had the blue cheese dressing and if Im not mistaken, it tastes like it was made to order. We were absolutly stuffed, by the end of our meal but still had room for "a tiramisu challenge "and I have to reward them with a gold medal .The moist and light desert was a great ending to our experiance. By the way thanks for keeping the front door open. I think its a great idea that you guys are getting a full liquor license, instead of just wine . Im a wine drinker, but my husband loves his after meal cordial. Hopefully youll consider opening for lunch.
NOT even close to the Old Marias - so sad.
I have never written a restaurant review and tonight I feel so compelled to talk about this utterly disappointing experience at the re-opening of Marias.
1) The new decor is less to be desired. I am not saying that I loved the old style, but there was nostalgia and character. Now it is cheaply done . . .including the carpet and wall decor. Nothing fancy whatsoever.
2) The music blares way too loud
3) The fresh warm bread that USED to come from the old Marias was cold and chewy
4) The minestrone soup is like a beef stock with a few veggies and 4-5 noodles. A total salt lick.
5) Salad- let's say they don't have a "house dressing" . nor is it the "good" ranch.
6) No liquor license yet . . (this was not a big deal, but a total fyi)
7) I ordered the Pasta Diablo . . . and let me tell you, I could eat garlic ice cream, cause I like garlic so much, but this was a pound of it. too much. . the dish did not gel together and the chicken was rubbery.
8) We also got a chicken parmesan . . . it was ok. . but not as great as before. The veggies again were garlic infused. . too much. (I swear, I love garlic)
9) FYI two meals with soup or salad - $31 w/o tip.
I tell you, we were so excited for this to re-open, but are terribly disappointed. I know times have changed that there is not "momma" back in the kitchen, but do SOMETHING homemade, or special that sets this intimate location apart from the other Italian restaurants. . . not from Gordons food service. I really hope this resonates with the owners to improve . . . if we are going out to dinner these days, we'd pay an extra $3-4 a meal for quality.
GRAND RE-OPENING. Maria's will be re-opening in early September. The menu will be updated with fresher ingredients and some new dishes.The inside has been gutted and totally re-done.The menu pricing will be 15% or so less per item.The ambience will be open and airy with a vibrant feel. I can't wait to re-visit a fixture in Ferndale that was loved by so many.
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