It had been a long weekend. I had worked four days in a row (unusual for my line of work) and J had made a quick trip home to see a friend of hers who just had a baby. We timed it out where she got home about an hour after I did on Sunday. That gave me enough time to shower and have a little snack. By 5:00, we were both pretty hungry. She did brunch with her parents in Chicago, but that was at 10:00 AM. We wanted to go out for dinner, but since it was Easter Sunday, we weren’t really sure what would be open. I knew the chain restaurants would be serving, so we headed out to Delta Township.
We had our choice as far as chains go on that side of town. I narrowed it down to Outback Steakhouse, Cheddar’s, and Carrabba’s. J said she didn’t have a preference and since Carrabba’s is the one out of those three that I had never eaten at, it’s what we chose.
Carrabba’s Italian Grill is on Saginaw Highway in front of the Kohl’s in Delta Township. Usually when we’re in this part of town, Carrabba’s isn’t open. They’re not the typical chain and they’re not open for lunch during the week. They open their doors at 4:00 Monday thru Friday. On Saturday and Sunday, they do open at noon, but they serve the same dinner menu.
We were met at the door by a waitress who welcomed us to the store as she stood holding the door for us. We were then met by a hostess who showed us to a table near the kitchen. The restaurant was surprisingly packed for a holiday. The table we were seated at had a good view of the kitchen which was open and on display. In fact, there was even a bar where you could enjoy your meal while watching the cooks prepare the evening’s meals.
From the time we were seated, I never got the feel that Carrabba’s was a chain. There was the efficiency that comes with chains, but the restaurant had more charm. The decor is typical of an Italian place. They try to make it feel like a villa in Tuscany.
A waitress came over and asked if we had eaten there before. We said no and she gave us a rundown of the menu which is something you wouldn’t get at Applebees. After she was done with her spiel, she took drink orders. We both went with Coke’s. Pretty unusual for us, I’d say.
She dropped off the drinks and gave us a few more minutes. A few more minutes turned into a lot more minutes as the dork at the table next to us was trying to be cute and funny as she was going over the dessert menu with them. I’m guessing dinner is the only time this kid ever gets to talk to girls. It was a good thing she already dropped off some bread so we had something to munch on while waiting.
Anyway, when she did come back, we were ready to order. There were a number of things on the menu that peaked my interest including brick oven pizzas. Since I had just had pizza a couple days ago, I went with pasta instead. I ordered the Lasagna. The plate came with a large chunk of home made lasagna. The dish is fairly typical consisting of layers of pasta, sauce, and ricotta cheese. The top layer has mozzarella, fresh herbs, and the waitress grated some fresh Romano cheese on top of that. Since I filled up on bread like I always do, I only ate half of the meal. Not 30 seconds after I set my fork down, the waitress came over and asked if I wanted to box it up. I said, “Probably” which she took as a yes. I thought this was a little rude because J had pretty much just started on her entree. I sat there through most of the meal with a Styrofoam container of lasagna. I was going to box it up anyway, but I would have preferred for her to wait and box both up at the same time, so I didn’t make J feel like she had to rush.
I should also mention that my meal came with choice of soup or salad. I got the salad which came with the house creamy Parmesan dressing. J added a salad to her meal for an extra $3 so we did have that before the entrees came out. The salad was romaine lettuce with carrots, celery, and a couple other things I wasn’t interested in so I avoided. The dressing was good, but it there was way too much.
OK, on to J’s meal. She also went with pasta and ordered the Tagliarini Picchi Pacchiu. She was looking for a lighter pasta without a heavy red sauce. The pasta was a fresh, spaghetti like pasta that came in a huge bowl with crushed tomatoes, olive oil, garlic and basil. She really liked the pasta. She said it melted in her mouth. There were quite a few tomatoes that she pushed to the side. She was more interested in a garlic/olive oil dressing than the tomato sauce, but she did pick up some tomato every now and then.
Our bill was just over $31 which is pretty decent for a dinner meal even though it’s higher than what we usually go for. The waitress was a little overbearing and always interrupted our meal at the most inopportune times. It seems she always showed up just after we had taken a bite. Carrabba’s didn’t have the chain feel to me and I think that helped our meal. We both really enjoyed the food and we both ended up with leftovers for lunch. Since there are no sandwich options, it’s a little out of our price range, but it was a really good meal and we both left satisfied.