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Sooo…I don’t usually do restaurant Reviews…

but this evening’s experience at Carrabba’s (egad! A chain! ) certainly warranted it. We only went because we had a couple of gift cards (thanks Tim). We had not actually heard of the place before, but I am glad we ventured out. We got to the Amherst location (near Niagara Falls Boulevard) close to seven on a Thursday and it was ~packed~. Upon finding that we had not called ahead, the hostess let us know that we could choose to sit at one of the long shared tables in the bar or near the kitchen instead of waiting if we chose. We selected the bar table and our server Kathleen attended us immediately.

Learning that this was her first visit, she gave us the Carrabba’s lowdown, letting us know that all meals here were prepared fresh and that there was no microwave in the kitchen. She guided us through the extensive menu, took our drink orders (Sangria for the Mr, Cabernet for me) and soon returned with fresh warm bread with herbed oil for dipping, followed by salad then our shared crab cake appetizer with red pepper sauce. Delicious, but not appetite spoiling. Service was attentive, but not intrusive. Kathleen seemed like a genuinely cheerful, helpful person and made our evening even more relaxing. We chatted, while keeping an eye on Sabres action on the bar’s two flat screens, listening to our tablemate’s conversations, a birthday party to our right and a group to our left discussing gingerbread houses.

I ordered a fillet after getting Kathleen’s assurance that I would not be getting the fatty, sinewy cut that usually prevents me from ordering steak at chain restaurants. It came with garlic smashed potatoes and a refreshingly generous portion of broccoli. Restaurants are notoriously stingy with their fresh vegetables. It arrived delicious and perfectly cooked despite my attempts at pacing myself through the courses, I could not come even close to finishing my entree, My better half ordered the shrimp and scallop dish and while he was finishing his last few bites, they brought him an additional plate because they thought his scallops were overcooked. He didn’t finish his meal either. Kathleen brought our check and boxed up our leftovers and we finished our drinks without being rushed, altogether a pleasant and relaxing evening that I would highly recommend.

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