This Examiner attended the First Tastes: Seasonal Menu Preview at Carrabba's Italian Grill. This event occurs on the same day at all of their restaurants across the United States.
The Carrabba family immigrated to the United States from Sicily, in the 1800s. Each of the dishes demonstrates their creative recipes.
The evening’s Festa Di Carrabba tasting menu featured eight different dishes including an appetizer, six entries and desert.
Lindsay McGillivray, Managing Partner at Charleston Boulevard, presented each of the dishes to the guests and discussed their sauces and methods of preparation.
The unique combinations and homemade sauces make each dish standout.
The guests began with the crispy Arancini cheese balls appetizer. The chef filled the balls with two types of cheeses, risotto and Romano, Italian fennel sausage and red bell peppers.
The entries introduced new ways to prepare chicken, fish, beef and pasta.
The Parmesan-crusted chicken breast combined tender sautéed chicken with a parmesan flavor.
The flaky potato-crusted haddock fell-apart with the touch of a fork. Its mustard cream sauce and fresh-diced tomato topping made a tasty combination.
The chef tossed the pan-seared shrimp, scallops, mushrooms and roasted red peppers with the linguine. When he added champagne cream sauce to the shrimp and scallop linguine, the dish became even more special.
This Examiner enjoyed the feast and felt the “Forever Braised” beef Brasato was the hit of the evening.
Lindsey explained, “After slow-cooking the boneless beef short ribs four hours in the oven, the chef added red wine, special ingredients and the beef’s natural juices for the gravy. When we place a fork inside the beef and turn it, the beef falls apart.
We roast tomatoes and onions separately before skewering them with pieces of wood-grilled sirloin steak for the Tuscan skewers.”
The popular macaroni and cheese comfort food became a gourmet dinner when they added lobster and four cheeses to the dish.
The grand finale to the feast, the fudge brownie Sogno Di Cioccolata enticed guests to try the desert.
Carrabba's special prefix menu features each of these eight dishes during the next six weeks through February.
Lindsay commented, “We have a 'cooking from scratch' kitchen. If anyone has an allergy or health diet, we make changes. It is amazing what we can do.”
James “Jimbo” A’ Hearn, Wine Director/ Bar Manager Charleston Boulevard, mentioned their special nights. “On Tuesdays, our customers sample wine flights and Wednesdays they receive discounts on any bottle of wine. We carry the Argentine Malbecs, German Rieslings, Italian Chiantis and many other wines from around the world.”
As Carrabba's motto says, “An ordinary day in Italy is an extraordinary day anywhere else, because Italians put more intro every moment . . . every bite . . . every day.”