I first ran into Michael's while working at Big Software Company You've Actually Heard Of, as it was relatively close, and a few of us decided to try all the restaurants in the area (gee, I wonder who the ringleader of that initiative was?). Today, Michael's is still a place I drop by once in awhile, as it's conveniently located halfway between NE Tarrant and the Northern Dallas suburbs. On this occasion, I met a new business contact coming in from Frisco. Michael's is perfect for that: Small, not overly crowded, relatively quiet to carry a conversation, and nicely decorated.
And, of course, the food is quite good. They focus on the basics, and all of your favorite pastas, veal, chicken and seafood dishes are represented as well as subs and pizza. Their red sauce is light and flavorful. I would also recommend their Italian sausage, which seems to be homemade (I don't know for sure). Another favorite, chicken parmigiana, is also recommended. I've taken Mrs. RJG once, and she enjoyed as well. We intended to visit friends from Dallas for dinner one night, but didn't realize at the time it was BYOB and ended up somewhere else (my prior visits were business lunches that required Mr. RJG to be sober). So file that away, as we're big fans of bringing our own wine! As mentioned in prior posts, most of the Italian restaurants in the area are owned by Albanians / Yugoslavians and I presume Michael's is as well. The menu is similar and the house dressing is a tomato based vinaigrette (though lighter than most). They've been around longer than most, claiming a heritage that goes back to 1981. I don't know where they started, as this location is certainly from the 90s or even later.
Michael's is located north of LBJ (I-635) on MacArthur. There is no town called Valley Ranch, just as there is no official city known as Las Colinas. Both are officially in Irving. However when you're this far north in "Irving", south of I-635 is known as Las Colinas and north as Valley Ranch. And for you out of towners reading this (as if), Valley Ranch is most known as the Dallas Cowboys practice area / headquarters.
Good place - and the best Italian restaurant I've tried in the long barren (and very Corporate) stretch on I-635 from I-35E to DFW airport.