Although Carrabba's Italian Grill is a restaurant chain, don't let that fool you.
Carrabba's owners and cousins Johnny Carrabba andDamian Mandola's philosophy is that "fresh ingredients are the key to making a successful Italian meal." That's exactly how they run their restaurants with only the finest ingredients and fresh herbs - and it shows in their cooking.
We love that Carrabba's owners are of Sicilian decent and their culture plays a big part in what they cook. Lots of menu items are family recipes. We appreciate good Italian food because our relatives are from Italy (our great grandfather is from Sicily) and the cooking we do at home is influenced by our Italian heritage.
The restaurant has promotions like the current "Amore Monday's". This special allows you to order three courses (appetizer or dessert, soup or salad, and main dish) starting at $12. Even if you don't go on a promotional day, it doesn't matter, Carrabba's is consistent all the time.
While waiting for our orders at the kitchen side tables in Carrabba's, we were served warm and fresh complementary bread with a herb olive oil dipping sauce. You might be tempted to eat every last slice of bread, but be careful there is so much more food coming.
Most every entree comes with a choice of soup or salad. Charles and I always get the caesar salad. The creamy caesar dressing and the abundance of shredded fresh parmesan cheese placed over the crunchy romaine lettuce is amazing.
|Carrabba's legendary wood fire oven is |
used to make pizza and flatbreads.
Charles selected the lasagna entree. He said that it had more than enough rich tomato sauce, just the way he likes it. The lasagna had many thick layers, resulting in very smooth but dense bites. My Grandma Alberta is famous in our family for making lasagna. Charles said the Carrabba's lasagna was a close second to our Grandma's recipe.
I ordered the the chicken marsala with a side of mashed potatoes. The entree was topped with mushrooms, prosciutto ( Italian ham), and delicious marsala wine sauce. Usually, chicken marsala is sautéed, like the way my family makes it at home. However, they grill the chicken at Carrabba's. This just adds to the depth of flavor for this fantastic dish. According to Carrabba's website, the marsala wine is aged in oak barrels for over one year to enhance the taste. While the alcohol is burned off during cooking, the robust flavor reminds. The mashed potatoes side was a perfect combo to the chicken - buttery soft melt-in-your mouth mashed spuds.
Over the years, Charles and I have gone to Carrabba's many times with our family. We enjoy sitting both at the tables and at the kitchen seats. And we've had the chance to experienced many different food selections. Here's some of our other favorite foods - cozze in bianco (mussels in a white wine sauce), chicken bryan, mezzaluna pasta, chicken parmesan and the classic spaghetti and meatballs. You can't go wrong with anything at this restaurant.
If you go to the Ellicott City restaurant, tell the manager Jerry we sent you. He's a great guy.