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Jun 17, 2007 06:01 AM

Carrabba's and the most blatent lie ever!

So my fiancee and I were enjoying a relatively easy going dinner at Carrabba's in Brookfield, WI last night and she just had a side Caesar salad and minestrone soup. When the minestrone soup came, it had a rather light broth with it instead of the traditional tomato broth or vegetable broth with tomatoes. When I asked the waitress if the soup was indeed minestrone since they do have a spicy chicken soup with vegetables on the menu. She said, "Yeah that's the minestrone soup, we just don't dye our broth". I didn't know most restaurants who use tomatoes in their broth use red dye in their soup, I'm surprised I've never seen it on the recipes for it.

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  1. I've never heard of broth being dyed either! I'm guessing the server just didn't know what she was talking about! It might be the case where you call or send an e-mail to the restaurant manager to inform him of the error! So he may use the information to educate his staff!

    2 Replies
    1. re: sweetnspicy

      Carrabas servers take an extensive, exhausting written test, that asks for every ingredient on the menu. Although some servers might make-up answers, most servers ask if they dont know-I get this question about our minestrone all the time. My managers answer is that it is not tomato-based and has a relatively small amount of tomatoes. Maybe the manager gave her the dye response. Dont always blame the server

      1. re: serverlicious

        Wow, that must take a long time to have to learn and remember all of that! You wouldn't happen to know what is in the spicy chicken soup, would you? I used to eat there with my family all the time but I moved from Michigan to California and I've been craving that soup so much lately but there aren't any Carrabba's out here! And not to press my luck, but would you also know the herb blend that is served with the bread? Thank you so much!

    2. In general, how did you like Carrabba's. Any recommendations? There is a new one close to where we live (Central NJ) but we haven't ventured there as somebody told us it is somewhere between Olive Garden and Macaroni Grill and I have been disappointed too often by average but ultimately unsatisfying Italian food in a chain place.

      10 Replies
      1. re: FoodFetish

        It might be sacrilege to admit to liking a chain restaurant on CH, but I have been very impressed with the Carrabas near me in the NY Capital district. It is near my mothers place and I take her there sometimes - the service is always courteous and patient, which I appreciate as she is elderly with some problems. They always let us split entrees ( which are huge anyway) and will customize orders graciously.
        We usually get grilled salmon - without the fancy toppings - it has been consistently excellent. Fresh, perfectly cooked ( ie NOT overcooked). We also get their pasta as a side - also perfectly cooked al dente . Fresh and crisp salad.
        Perhaps we are lucky and have a good one here - I suspect they might vary, but I am amazed by it as a staunch skeptic of chains.

        1. re: LJNew

          I haven't been back to Carraba's since, oh, about 1999.
          I ordered some chicken dish, and when I cut into it the chicken was still very pink. So I tell the server and he says, "Well, we cook our chicken medium(as in medium-rare/well)." I couldn't believe my ears. I responded with, "Anything short of well done for poulty is a health hazard...where's your manager."

          At that point I realized that they don't even train their staff to know basic food preparation concepts.

          1. re: mamamia

            You probably had the Pollo Rosa Maria which is stuffed with paper thin prosciutto and looks under cooked when you cut it open. And as far as training the staff anyone who handles food whether its a cook or server they MUST complete a food safety class. You may have had a new server and just like anyone else gets nerves when under pressure. You should give carrabbas another try.

            1. re: mismac

              "anyone who handles food whether its a cook or server they MUST complete a food safety class"
              says who???????<VBG> this varies by jurisdiction and health district. In many jurisdictions in New England only one manager or owner needs to have a food safety certificate, and no classes for kitchen staff or servers are required.

              Your average 16 year old at the fast food burger joint probably never had to take a food safety class. I know my kids didn't when working part time at the big 3 burger joints.

              1. re: bagelman01

                In Florida, it's all staff and servers who might touch food. Had to keep everything on file regarding that when I ran a Meals on Wheels program down here and all my paid people had to have their little Florida food safety certification card.

        2. re: FoodFetish

          ...It might be sacrilege to admit to liking a chain restaurant ...

          I fully agree. As much as Carrabba's is a chain restaurant, it is hands down, the most highly consistent (chain or not) in providing flavorful, authentic Italian food. I live in FL, where every other building is a restaurant or food retailer of some sort. Carrabba's is wonderful and I have never had a bad meal there.

          My favorite dish is Rigatoni Martino. Large rigatoni with huge pieces of grilled chicken, mushrooms, onions, tomatoes, and grated ricotta salate on top. Another fave are the Mussels - beautiful wine and garlic sauce.

          The calamari is second to none and never cooked over a minute and 20 seconds. (Can you tell I sit at the pasta bar??) Have them bring you BOTH the Ricardo sauce and the marinara.

          Your first meal at Carrabba's will mark your last meal at (gasp!) Olive Garden (if you ever dine there). I promise.

          Great for a celebratory dinner or any ordinary Tuesday night - Carrabba's never disappoints.

          1. re: chiffonade

            I agree. It's the best chain restaurant. I love their grilled dishes.

          2. re: FoodFetish

            As a foodie, I'm embarrassed to admit that I, too, am a fan of Carrabba's Italian Grill. When I'm in the Orlando, Fl area,there are chain restaurants galore. Of course there are some lovely restaurants that can be expensive (non-theme park restaurants). However, for an inexpensive and well-prepared meal, Carrabba's is head and shoulders above the rest of the chains. I like their chicken dishes and their pasta.

            1. re: FoodFetish

              I went there on a recent trip to Boise, having never heard of it (I'm in L.A.) and I could tell it was a chain as soon as I walked in. I expected Olive Garden and was very impressed with the good food! I was actually quite disappointed that there isn't one near me. I think the closest is Arizona.
              I had a chicken dish that was topped with goat cheese, lemon butter sauce, sun dried tomatoes, and basil. My friend (who had been before) recommended it and it was really good. I will definitely go back if I get the chance.

              1. re: Azizeh Barjesteh

                There are 2 in the Las Vegas area. Not much closer than Arizona, but possibly somewhere you'd have more likelihood of going.

            2. I must admit that I like Carrabba's too. I have a favorite entry that I aways order - the Chicken Brian (I think it's called). It's chicken breasts with goat cheese and sundried tomatoes over pasta with a really yummy sauce. In fact - maybe I'll suggest we go there tonight since I'm now salivating just thinking about it!

              1 Reply
              1. re: HungryLetsEat

                Its chicken Bryan, named after the town of Bryan Texas. Very good dish.

              2. OK jfood will bite.

                Did it have chicken in it and was it spicey? Or did it have veggies in it and was minestrone?

                And jfood congratulates you if this is the most blatant lie ever. And to your question, NO jfood has never heard of a resto, even Carraba's, dying their soup.

                1. As others have already stated, this is undoubtedly a case of either a mis-informed waitress or (more likely), a waitress who is not very good with terminology. Probably she meant to say that their minestrone is not "colored" with tomato, rather than saying something about dye being normally added to that soup.

                  Incidentally, I agree with those who stated that they like Carabba's. Although I prefer Mom & Pop places, the one Carabba's that I have patronized has actually been quite credible. I have found the food at Maggiano's to be virtually inedible due to the astronomical sodium levels, and I consider Maggiano's to be vastly overpriced. I consider the food at Macaroni Grill to be mediocre, and I think that Bertucci's seems to be a bit better than MG. Carino's is actually pretty good, in my experience. As to Olive Garden--if you had never tasted Italian food, this might be an OK place to go. For anyone who has been to Italy, it is a no-go, IMHO.

                  So, if one is headed for a chain-operated Italian restaurant, I think that Carabba's is to be recommended as the best of the lot.