Carrabba’s Italian Grill

As an Italian, I generally don’t go to Italian restaurants since I can cook better Italian meals at home. A friend of mine suggested we go to Carrabba’s Italian Grill. I was skeptical as living in the NYC area there is no shortage of non- chain mom and pop Italian fair.  We had a pitcher of the BlackBerry Sangria

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We shared the calamari appetizer, and the calamari looked like they were cooked in a hot air popcorn cooker being very light and airy and not at all greasy or with any remaining oil from the deep fryer.  They were fluffy and almost tasted like pop corn,  without the marinara sauce which was just right.

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The main dishes came with a delicious salad and the Italian dressing was done right.

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I had the

Tilapia Nocciola

“Lightly breaded with hazelnuts, topped with roma tomatoes and basil lemon butter sauce.” It was one of the better pieces of fish I have had in a while.  The butter sauce was creamy and flavorful.  The fish was not over cooked and every bite was delicious!

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My friend, Grace, had the sea scallops from the

Spiedino Di Mare

“Feel transported to the Italian coast with our Spiedino Di Mare. Enjoy your choice of wood-grilled shrimp or sea scallops, coated with olive oil and breadcrumbs before grilling to add flavor and keep the shrimp and scallops juicy. Topped with our lemon butter sauce, this is seafood unlike any you’ve ever experienced. Our lemon butter sauce is a perfect complement to this seafood dish, as the acidity adds brightness, balancing and enhancing the flavors of the shrimp and scallops.”

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We both found her dish to be very salty.  The side we both chose was the simple cavatappi amatriciana. 

We ended the meal with the Limoncello Bread Pudding which was delicious accompanied with espresso and cappuccino.

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I was pleasantly surprised by this restaurant.  My friend had visited another franchise in Florida where the chef was apparently lighter with the salt compared to the location we both visited in Seacaucus, NJ.  With sea salt and pepper available at the table, the chef should realize that it is better to use less salt than more, as not everyone has the same salt sensation/desire.  We give this restaurant a 7 out of 10 for the overall ambiance and meal, and would have given it an 8 of 10 but one entrée was just too salty, almost garnering a 6.5 out of 10. As the food is apparently made to order (some of it did taste like it was fresh, like my entrée, but some of it might have been pre-prepared like the calamari), and the overall experience was better than at some mom and pop Italian restaurants, we recommend you try this chain for yourself and let us know what you experience!

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