I was least impressed with Carrabba’s Conchiglie (pronounced “con-kee-lyeh”) Bolognese, which didn’t have any produce, other than tomatoes in the meat sauce. The meat sauce wasn’t as tasty as, say, Villa Capri or Johnny Cascone’s, and the freshly grated ricotta salata on top was OK but wasn’t prevalent enough.
There was no under-impressing going on with the next dish, Pollo Sorrento, however. The chicken with prosciutto and fontina cheese ... yeah, that was all good ... but the fresh eggplant and port wine fig sauce featuring apples made this dish melt in my mouth. I talked to a couple of other patrons after the event and they told me it was their favorite dish at First Tastes as well.
The Penne Romano with Wood-Grilled Chicken didn’t have much chicken in it. Being a big carnivore myself, this concerned me at first, but by the time I finished the dish, I actually felt Carrabba’s could remove the chicken and make this a more vegetarian offering because the fresh sautéed mushrooms and roasted garlic black pepper cream sauce were so good, I didn’t really feel I needed the chicken. The dish also featured red bell peppers. I’m not a pepper fan but the peppers really did add to the eye-appeal.
Mini Cannolis with pistachios and Apple Crostata with ice cream finished off First Tastes, and the couple I chatted with afterwards was so impressed that they rated the Apple Crostata as a “10” on Carrabba’s scale of 1 to 8. I agreed, giving it an “8.5.” I rated the Pollo Sorrento as the top dish featuring veggies, giving it an “8.”
The event was introducing patrons to new menu selections to Carrabba’s Pasta Seconds menu, which allows patrons to order select pasta dishes and get a second portion of it free, either to share with other guests at the table, or to go. Each dish also comes with choice of a soup or side salad, for $13.
I definitely wouldn’t turn down seconds of the dishes featuring the most produce. The produce suppliers to Carrabba’s definitely have done themselves proud.