Carrabba’s Italian Grill: Small Plates, Big Flavor

Carrabbas - Small Plates Table

When we last left Carrabba’s, they had just introduced a new menu with a range of delicious items. Today, we’re taking a closer look at a subset of the new selections on the Italian eatery’s menu: the small plates.

When you go out with friends to a restaurant, sometimes you don’t want a full meal. Sometimes, you just want something to pick at while enjoying a glass of wine (or two … or three). That’s where Carrabba’s small plates come in.

At Carrabba’s, guests can choose from six different small plates to enjoy with good company. Best of all, they won’t break the bank. Each offering clocks in at under six bucks. Yes, you read that correctly: under six bucks.

Carrabbas - Sangria Carrabbas - Sangria 2

You can order all six plates and a few glasses of wine and still spend less than $50! This is especially true on Tuesdays: the restaurant’s Tasting Tuesday promotion lets diners pick three small plates for $12.

But enough about how much value you’re getting. Time to focus on the food.

On our second trip to Carrabba’s recently, we got to try ALL the small plates with some foodie friends, including our buddy Latina Foodie Chronicle. Our evening was full of good food, good company and — most importantly — good sangria (side note: get the blackberry sangria).

The six small plates are all very different, so guests should have no issue finding something they like. From the Bruschette Siciliani to the meatballs and ricotta to the Italian lettuce wraps, each small dish packs big taste. Even though you might consider these plates simply prepared, they’re anything but simple when it comes to flavor.

For example: the Bruschette Siciliani. Oven-baked ciabatta bread with the freshest of tomatoes and a few herbs makes for a very happy Food Pug. The bread is perfectly buttered, the olives are oh so good and the ricotta salata brings the dish full circle. The Mozzarella Rustica — another standout — is best described as crispy balls of heaven thanks to some panko breadcrumbs and some marinara sauce you’ll be tempted to take home.

Speaking of balls, the meatballs and ricotta are a must, too. First of all, they’re huge. Second of all, that ricotta and romano cheese. Oooof. As for the grilled asparagus with prosciutto, it was a tasty way to get our vegetables in among all the other decadent fare on the menu.

Carrabbas - Stuffed Mushrooms Carrabbas - Italian Lettuce Wraps

The only item the table was divided on was the three-cheese and sausage stuffed mushrooms. If you don’t like mushrooms, this plate won’t convert you. But if you’re a fan of the fungi, you’ll thoroughly enjoy this inventive take on it with sausage, ricotta, Mozzarella and Romano cheeses. The pesto was a nice touch, and you get four mushrooms so it’s one of the larger small plates.

That leaves us with the Italian lettuce wraps, which were a hit across the table. With ricotta salata and Mediterranean lemon vinaigrette and a port wine reduction, how could they not be? We’re very particular about our lettuce wraps. Soggy lettuce is a big no-no and can ruin the dish for us.

Fortunately, Carrabba’s lettuce is crisp and can carry the weight of its delicious filling effortlessly. The lemon vinaigrette is something we haven’t seen in a lettuce wrap before, and it works great here, giving the dish some good zest.

Overall, the new small plates in Carrabba’s deserve your attention. If you’re on the fence about them, do your taste buds a favor and order one or two. If you don’t like them, you’ll only be out a few bucks (and even less if you come for Tasting Tuesday). Chances are, though, that you’ll enjoy them so much that you’ll want to throw a small plate party. We won’t blame you — that’s exactly what we did.

Disclaimer: For this blog post, we were asked by Carrabba’s to try the small plates at their expense and write a sponsored blog post. While we received a complimentary meal, all opinions are our own.