Fresh Eats At Italian
By Pete & Rosie &
Mike & Lil /firstname.lastname@example.org
Who knew two big Sicilian
boys from Texas who love to cook and eat would end up
with restaurants on Long Island?
The national Carrabbas chain belongs to Johnny Carrabba and
Damian Mandola. With nearby locations in Smithtown and Islip,
the restaurant boasts tasty grilled meat dishes, brick oven
pizza and al dente pasta dishes.
Frequenters of the Smithtown location, we visited again with
a large party on a busy Wednesday night, and they handled
us well. The lively dining room was packed with groups chatting,
laughing and enjoying glasses of vino, since Wednesday is
wine night. The open kitchen served as an appropriate backdrop,
as flames from the brick oven danced behind a counter.
Every meal starts with warm bread served alongside olive oil
with herbs. A soup or salad comes with most entrées,
and on this visit we had both. The house salad ($6) is served
on an ice-cold plate to keep the fresh veggies cool and is
topped with creamy parmesan. Lentil and sausage soup ($4/$6)
is delicious and packed with diced tomatoes and onions. It
has the kind of spicy kick to it that creates a heat that
rises in the back of the throat.
Tender, flaky calamari ($7/$9) is lightly battered and fried,
served with a marinara sauce that is chunky and neither too
sweet nor too acidic. Mozzarella marinara ($7/$9) is breaded,
greaselessly fried and served with the same marinara. An antipasti
platter comes with both, as well as the bruschette of the
Brick oven pizza is baked at 600 degrees. The Margherita ($9)
has a slight kick to it, served with Roma tomatoes, basil,
extra virgin olive oil and mozzarella cheese.
Meat cooked on the wood-burning grill is tender and juicy,
and is complemented well by one of Carrabbas sauces.
Chicken Bryan ($16.50) comes topped with creamy goat cheese,
sundried tomatoes and a basil lemon butter sauce. Chicken
Marsala is hearty and above average but not thick, topped
with mushrooms and prosciutto in a Lombardo Marsala wine sauce
($16.50). Pollo Rosa Maria ($16.50) is chicken stuffed with
fontina cheese and prosciutto, topped with mushrooms and a
sweet basil lemon butter sauce that complements the prosciutto.
Our recommendation is to try all three by asking for the Chicken
Trio so you get one of each for some variety.
A Mahi Mahi special comes with a filet almost steak-like,
thick, flaky and fresh, and is served with lobster ravioli
($16.5 for the ravioli alone) in a white wine cream sauce.
Rigatoni Martino ($13) is al dente, tossed with grilled chicken,
sautéed mushrooms, and sundried tomatoes in a tomato
cream sauce, topped with ricotta salata and scallions.
Mini desserts called bacinos make you feel less
guilty about indulging; options are varied and include a pudding
with raspberry topping, banana nut bread with pudding and
cream, crème brulee and cannoli cream with pieces of
With large party carryouts and a specialty martini list, there
are many reasons to enjoy a meal from Carrabbas.
730 Smithtown Bypass
Atmosphere: Lively and homey
Cuisine: Italian grill
Hours: Sun 12-9:30 p.m.;
Mon-Thurs 4-10 p.m.;
Fr: 4-11 p.m.; Sat 3-11 p.m.