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Fearless Critic restaurant review
Italian, Pizza
Casual restaurant

Mon–Thu 11:00am–10:00pm
Fri 11:00am–11:00pm
Sat noon–11:00pm
Sun noon–10:00pm

Features Kid-friendly
Bar Beer, wine, liquor
Credit cards Visa, MC, AmEx
Reservations Accepted


Upper Kirby
3115 Kirby Dr.
Houston, TX
(713) 522-3131

1399 S. Voss Rd.
(713) 468-0868
Sun–Thu 11:00am–10:00pm
Fri 11:00am–11:00pm
Sat 11:30am–11:00pm

West Houston
11339 Katy Fwy.
(713) 464-6595
Mon–Thu 11:00am–10:00pm
Fri 11:00am–11:00pm
Sat 3:00pm–11:00pm
Sun noon–9:00pm

Carrabba’s Italian Grill
Familiar megachain Italian-American with all its good and bad implications

It’s funny: any discussions regarding the financial well-being of chains as large as Carrabba’s, which answers to OSI, the parent company of Outback Steakhouse, have to do solely with factors like gas prices and unemployment. That is, no one seems concerned about so-called “trends” like consciousness about where our food comes from and how much of the stuff served by these restaurant conglomerations falls under the category of Makes Michael Pollan Twitch. In other words, where Carrabba’s concerned: if it ain’t broke…?

Like Olive Garden, it unabashedly engages in the usual ritual of reinventing Italian cuisine, turning an Alpine “fonduta” into a thoroughly American spinach-cheese-crab dip, passing off fried mozzarella as at all representative of the cuisine, and stuffing seafood inside cannelloni and dumping cheesy, creamy sauce on them, making something that’s virtually indistinguishable from a seafood enchilada. Some attempts are egregious abuses of mass ignorance, like mixing Copper Ridge white zinfandel in a sangría with vodka and tequila and advertising it as a “taste of the Amalfi Coast.” Sure, if the Amalfi Coast is a Vegas strip club. But if you have kids and not-picky in-laws with you, you could do worse than the spaghetti and meatballs or lasagne here. Then again, there are so many equally affordable places in town where, although the Italian isn’t much more authentic, at least the “kitchen” isn’t a board room.

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