Carrabba’s is top notch
I can still remember a time when most Bahamians would not travel to the United States without taking time out to dine at Red Lobster and Olive Garden, because a visit to our neighbors to the north, wouldn’t have been the same without eating at one of those two eateries at least one–and believe you me, I’m not ashamed to say that I’m one of those persons. But over the years I’ve broadened my horizons with so much good food to be had at chain restaurants. Favorites of mine include Smoky Bones Bar&Fire Grill, and Bonefish Grill, so much so that a chain restaurant or two that are doing good things you’re bound to overlook. For me, it was Carrabba’s Italian Grill.
Yep, I can’t deny it, I’d never darkened the doors of a Carrabba’s Italian Grill until last week. But I left saying to myself that it would definitely not be the last and that I’d have to return with my husband, David in tow, who always proclaims that he does not like pasta.
On a recent business trip with work colleagues, I threw out a question to the group as to where they liked to eat, and the first thing out of their mouth was that they had to dine at Carrabba’s every time they made a trip to the U.S. Never having dined at the establishment, I went with the flow. I’m always up for a good meal, anytime, any place, anywhere and I love Italian food.(Even though I’d had thoughts of dining at 3030 Ocean on the mind).
As we opened the door, the smells that go along with Italian cooking assailed my nostrils–the combination of cheeses, and pasta sauces wafted through the air, greeting you before a server did. I was caught, hook, line and sinker. If it smelled that good, the taste just had to be even better.
The menu drew me in from the first item on the antipasti menu–calamari served with a marinara sauce or their spicy Italian pepper and lemon butter sauce. As I continued, I got excited over menu items like Cozz in Bianco(Prince Edward Island mussels steamed in white wine, basil and lemon butter). I love, love, love mussels!Then there was Zucchine Fritte(lightly battered and fried, with roasted garlic aioli). That was just some of the menu items on the starter menu. They were all tempting, but I went with the special on offer–the fonduta(a cheese fondue with spinach and crab meat, served with toast points to soak up all of that delicious, cheesy, crabby goodness).
My three dining companions all raved about the Grilled Norwegian Salmon topped with tomato basil vinaigrette which they said is a must try meal, even though my eyes were straying to menu items like the Chicken Bryan(a grilled chicken breast, topped with Caprino cheese, sundried tomatoes and a basil lemon butter sauce)which I was told is one of Carrabba’s Italian Grill’s most ordered dishes; the lasagne(which is said to be another favorite); lobster ravioli; chicken and spinach cannelloni(chicken, spinach, garlic, fresh herbs, fontina and romano cheese, topped with pomodoro and cream sauce); Penne Franco(mushrooms, sundried tomatoes, artichoke hearts and black olives in garlic and oil with ricotta salata cheese); the Pasta Sostanza(tagliarine with sautéed mushrooms, artichoke hearts and spinach in tomato basil sauce topped with seasoned breadcrumbs)–and the menu goes on and on with items that really tempted me. I went with the salmon as I wanted a dish that was on the lighter. The salmon was cooked to a delicious medium, and the tangy tomato basil vinaigrette was the perfect foil for the rich salmon meat, which I had with side of cavatappi amatriciana(pasta with tomato sauce).
As the rest of my table skipped dessert, I did too, so I have no experience with the sinful, guilty treats, but on my next visit, I’m going to be certain to acquaint myself with the offerings.
I’ve since learned that many of the recipes for the dishes on Carraba’s menu are those of co-founder Damian Mandola’s mother, Grace and his sister, Rose. My hat’s off to the good eats at this Italian chain restaurant, and good ole’home cookin’.