Monday, February 6, 2017
On Sunday, February 5, 2017, my daughter and I had lunch at Carrabba’s Italian Grill, at 231 Kernstown Commons Boulevard, in the Kernstown Shopping Center off Route 11, the Valley Pike, just south of Route 37 and I-81 Exit 310.
Hours are Monday-Thursday, 4:00 PM-10:00 PM; Friday and Saturday, 11:00 AM-11:00 PM; Sunday, 11:00 AM-10:00 PM. The phone number is 540-868-7665. The national Web page for Carrabba’s is www.carrabbas.com, and carryout is available.
Handicapped parking is on the left side of the building, and the entrance near the left front has a small vestibule. A covered front porch has benches on the left side and tables to your right.
Carrabba’s is a fairly large restaurant. Just inside is a receptionist’s station. One thing I noticed as soon as we entered was the strong smell of onions and garlic, but it soon was less noticeable.
The bar area is along the left wall, with a chest-high divider separating it from the main dining space. It has high-rise tables and chairs in addition to high-rise seats at the bar, and several TV screens. The main dining area has booths along the bar divider and the front and left walls, with tables elsewhere.
The kitchen in the rear has two sections. The one in the left is a closed room, but the right section is L-shaped and extends partly along the right wall. It is bounded by a glass-topped divider that lets you watch some of the food preparation. High-rise tables and chairs are against the divider for those who want the closest possible view.
The floor is dark imitation hardwood; the ceiling is light acoustic material. Lighting in the dining section is primarily bulbs recessed in the ceiling; hanging shaded lights are in the bar area. Background noise is noticeable, and includes sounds from the kitchen. Music is audible enough to be almost intrusive.
We elected to be seated in a booth, and Ashley, our server, took our orders for iced tea. She gave us a basket of warm Italian bread, along with a plate of olive oil with herbs, since this was a proper Italian restaurant and doesn’t serve butter.
The larger of two menus included Appetizers, Wood-Fired Pizza, Soups and Salads, Pasta, Chicken, Pork & Veal, Steaks & Chops, Seafood, Combinations, Wine, Italian Sangria & Cocktails, Craft & Bottled Beers, and Beverages.
Several dishes usually offered as staples in other Italian restaurants, such as chicken, eggplant, or veal Parmigiana were missing.
The smaller menu apparently had limited-time offerings: Chicken Parmesan Lasagna, a new dish, along with some other items and specials such as Amore Monday, Tasting Tuesday, Pizza & Wine Wednesday, and Signature Selections. A 50% reduction, up to $20.00, applies to every fourth visit.
My daughter decided on the Chicken Parmesan Lasagna as soon as she saw it listed on the smaller menu. I ordered Chicken Marsala, topped with mushrooms and a brown Marsala wine sauce, with grilled asparagus. I opted for Lentil Sausage Soup instead of a salad, and found it to be the best lentil soup I had ever tasted. We divided a pair of Mini Cannoli for dessert.
The food was very good, but a bit pricey. I was troubled by the price of $2.99 for a glass of unsweetened iced tea, and will have water the next time. Carrabba’s is definitely a keeper in my book for occasional splurging.
I first reviewed Carrabba's on July 6, 2012, after it had been open for six months. The menu has changed only slightly since then, and its servers are no longer exclusively male.— Perry Crabill
Friday, February 5, 2016
Wednesday, September 24, 2014