Carrabbas - Garbage in the Soup. Literally.

August 11, 2010

Back in the 80's and 90's, Carrabba's was one of my go-to Italian restaurants.  Back then, that meant the family-operated locations on Kirby and Voss.  To this day, I have a soft spot for the chain, and consider them to be a step or two above their Olive Garden and Macaroni Grill brethren.

Lately, we've gone to the Woodlands location several times, and I've become hooked on their Tagliarini with Picchi Pacchiu sauce - pasta, crushed tomatoes, garlic, olive oil, and basil.  Simple, light, and very tasty.  Carrabba's has entered into our regular rotation when we're in the mood for Italian food in the Woodlands.

That changed over the weekend.

We were dining with friends, and I decided to order some of their tomato basil soup - even though we are in a summer heat wave, it sounded refreshing.

The soup arrived, and it was very tasty - light, tartly tangy, and with a bit more bite than you typically find from a chain.  All in all, it was quite good... until my spoon encountered something in the bowl.  I assumed it was a bit of pasta that got tossed into the wrong pot, but that wasn't the case.

It was a chunk of plastic.  Covered in the soup, I couldn't identify it further.

A few minutes later, a manager walked by, and I told him that there was debris in the soup.  He took the spoon and fished around in my bowl (at the table... very appetizing) and declared it was the top to one of their containers.  He whisked it away, saying that he'd get me another bowl.

A few moments later, someone else dropped of another (thankfully, plastic-free) bowl of soup.  No word from the manager... not even an apology, much less some sort of offer of compensation for the trash that was served to me in my soup.

And less than a minute after the soup appeared, the entrees were brought, so the timing of the meal was ruined.  Honestly, at this point, I didn't have much of an appetite.

Folks, this is a perfect example of how NOT to handle a screw-up in the kitchen.  Screw-ups happen, but it tells you much about an organization to see how they handle the situation.  Honestly, after the debris in my bowl, I wasn't anxious to eat more of this soup - no telling what else fell into the same pot, from which the second bowl was no doubt ladled.

A competent manager would, at a very minimum, apologize for the mistake, and have asked if I would prefer something else.  A smart one would have gone above and beyond in some way to change what we remembered about the meal.

This manager has now guaranteed that when I think of Carrabba's, I'll think of garbage in my soup.

At this point, all I can suggest is that you avoid Carrabba's.  With this attitude from management we have no confidence in them whatsoever.

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