Anyone been to Maggiano's in Short Hills Mall?
I am not familiar with Carmine's, but we love Maggiano's. Our rehearsal dinner was in one of the banquet rooms at the (free-standing, not in a mall) one in Atlanta. We have not yet been to the one that (finally) opened in Orlando, and we do have a favorite local mom-and-pop Italian place that is a little better, but Maggiano's is a close second favorite. (FWIW, Maggiano's is better than the Italian place we ate at in San Francisco's Little Italy.)
No, but I have been to this chain's location in Bridgewater, NJ. I am not familiar with Carmine's, so I cannot comment on any similarity.
My observations regarding Maggiano's:
*Decor--somewhat upscale and pleasing
*Food--decent (that means not exceptionally good), for a chain, if you can overlook the INCREDIBLE sodium level
*Prices--far too high for what is served
A good privately owned, authentic Italian restaurant would, in almost every case, have better food, and I think that almost every restaurant in which I have ever eaten had a lower sodium level in its food than Maggiano's. Their stock in trade is the huge portion sizes that they offer, which may make it a good value in some people's minds. However, quantity without quality is not what I am looking for. If you go, you can decide for yourself.