Sunday, April 8, 2007

Johnny Carino - Johnny So So

I went to this restaurant because of a recommendation from one of my loyal readers. I was really excited to try it. I figured it would be similar to Macaroni Grill but better. Starting the meal I was in a great mood, Arod just hit a grand slam to win the game for the Yankees. It was like all was right in the world. My family decided to sit in the bar area because there were TV's and the sports channel was on so we could see replays of this glorious hit. Anyway, maybe that was not such a good idea because we were seated next to the weirdest couple in the world. More about them later.
What I did really like about Carino's is that all entrees come with either a salad or a soup. I opted for the salad, just a house one. One of the dressings they offer is a house Chianti Vinaigrette. Well my eyes light up when I hear the word Chianti, wine, of course I will order that one. The salad was good, but not amazing, pretty standard. I liked the dressing it was a bit spicy and different so that was good. My dad got the minestrone soup and that was pretty good. I think if I was to go again I would get the soup. Better value.
Anyway, they also serve a nice bread with the first courses. It is a hot Italian Loaf with this nice garlic dipping oil. I love dipping bread in oil so I was happy with that but I must say I saw so much garlic in the oil that I was surprised it was not a bit tastier.
In between my salad and main course I was entertained by the weirdest couple ever. This man was telling his date that he loved her even if she did not have the nicest body. "Most of my other girlfriends had what you would consider perfect bodies, but I like yours better, I would not even care if you got bigger, I would still love you. I remember when I saw you on one of our first dates and you were wearing that outfit, I was so attracted to that outfit and the way you moved. We did not touch so much when we were at the club, but we got it on in the car." What, is this what you talk about extremely loudly at chain restaurants??? He just kept on talking and talking I was afraid I was going to lose my appetite. Especially when he was telling her the difference between strip clubs in Memphis and New York. Apparently you have to pay for lap dances in New York, not so much in Memphis, good to know.
Finally it was entree time - here is where I was a bit disappointed. I ordered the Spicy Shrimp and Chicken Pasta. It claims to include succulent shrimp. I do not think they were so succulent. Kind of just blah actually. I will take Red Lobster Shrimp any day over that. The chicken in the dish was good though. Nice and thin sliced, just the way I like it. The main downfall of the pasta was that it was just way to creamy. My pasta was swimming in a sea of cream sauce. I think if about 1/4 of the sauce was used it would have been a much better meal. My mom and brother got similar dishes and felt the same way. I did try my dad's Chicken Marsala and that was very, very good. Light and airy with lots of chicken and a good amount of pasta. If I was to go back I would get that or try the Chicken Parm. After I ate my pasta dish I felt like I needed to go run laps around the shopping center.
One thing that I was very impressed with about Carino's was their drink menu. They have Sangria - in pitchers and individual glasses, booyah! I ordered a glass of their Italian Sangria, it was very good, very, very good. It has a more berry taste than more traditional Sangria's. I mean is this the way they drink it in Italy, perhaps not but at Italian chains, it works!


steve said...

I must say I was a little disappointed in Johnny Carino's and would go to Macaroni Grill and order Carmela's Chicken Rigatoni anytime.

Nina said...

wow I hate when you get a pasta and it ends up being too's a total turn off. I like that you get soup or salad, and that teh chicken was good. Maggianos was so good when we went on our date there..every place should be that good. Hilarious about the couple sitting next to you..what did they order?