life in and around NYC is insane

Saturday, August 10, 2013

The Olive Garden

This chain is unfairly disparaged by many "foodies".  Why go to a "faux Italian"  restaurant when there are so many "real" Italian restaurants on Long Island?
Yet the place is always crowded at dinnertime.
It's a family-friendly chain with a pleasant atmosphere and interesting and delicious dishes on the menu.
The food is pretty standard Italian.  Mostly pastas, with some chicken and seafood items rounding out the menu.
You have a choice -- soup or salad.  Since we both selected salad, it was served family style  -- Iceburg lettuce, red cabbage, carrots, tomatoes and an occasional pepper served with croutons and Italian dressing, and grated cheese added at the table.  Nice.  (And no unripened tomatoes!)
Salad was accompanied by their famous breadsticks -- actually closer to mini loaves of bread, soft inside but with a crunchy crust sprinkled with garlic.
We ordered an appetizer trio.  The calamari was lightly breaded and fried, and was not "chewy".  (Overcooked,chewy calamari is a kitchen crime.)  The stuffed mushrooms contained real pieces of clam.  The fried mozzarella was crispy outside and gooey inside.  There was enough on this plate to feed at least three, maybe four, diners.
You could easily make a meal out of the salad and appetizer.
But we did order entrees.  He had seafood alfredo, a variety of shellfish in a creamy sauce.  I ordered chicken parmesian -- two chicken cutlets, breaded and fried and topped with timato sauce and mozzarella, accompanied by spaghetti in marinara sauce.  We both brought home leftovers, of course.  Didn't order dessert, but we did enjoy the Andes candies delivered to our table -- they accompanied the bill for tonight's meal.
So yes, we do eat in "real" Italian restaurants.  But we also like this place.  Good food at a fair price in a pleasant atmosphere.   

Olive Garden on Urbanspoon

1 comment:

Suzanne said...

If I want traditional Italian food, I skip it-but the other entrees are good. Ed asked to go the other night, which is strange-it has emotional ties to his mom always asking him to take her there.

I got the grilled apricot chicken. Loved that it came with my two favorite veggies, asparagus and broccoli.

The mushrooms looked really appealing, but we forgot to order them. No matter, there was plenty of salad.

It isn't bad, it's just not a first choice, KWIM?

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