Olive Garden - November 2012
205 E Merritt Island Causeway
Merritt Island, FL 32952
I'll be honest... I haven't been to an Olive Garden in almost ten years. My previous experience with the Olive Garden chain is that, depending on the management and staff, some are pretty good and some are not so good.
Recently, I saw a commercial for the Olive Garden "Dinner Today & Dinner Tomorrow" limited time dine-in promotion. For $12.95 you get to pick 1 entree from their list of 5 to eat in the restaurant and another entree from the list "to go." In addition, you get unlimited soup or salad and bread sticks to start. Sounds like a great deal, right? I really wanted to try it!
I happen to be running errands in Merritt Island and thought I would give the promo a try for lunch. This was my first time visiting the Merritt Island Olive Garden location.
Upon entering the restaurant, the staff was polite and attentive. We were promptly seated. My first impression of the restaurant was how dirty the fabric on the chairs was. It literally freaked me out. It made me question how clean the other parts of the restaurant were.
Our service was prompt, polite and attentive. The glass wear was less than squeaky clean however.
For food, I ordered the Spaghetti with Meat Sauce and Tomato Florentine soup to start. I ordered the Fettuccine Alfredo as my take home entree. My dining companion ordered the salad to start and the Braised Beef & Tortelloni. My soup was adequate, although I have to admit my appetite wasn't the greatest after seeing the chairs and glass wear. The standard Olive Garden salad was good as always. I've never been a fan of the Olive Garden bread sticks. They are a bit dry for my taste. They tasted as I remembered.
The pasta for both entrees, in my opinion, was overcooked. The sauces and meat did not thrill me. The meat in both the Meat Sauce and in the Braised Beef & Tortelloni, had a strange texture to me. In our opinion, the Marsala sauce in the beef dish tasted sort of like maple syrup.
Later on that evening, I prepared my take home entree; the Fettuccine Alfredo. It was by far the shining star of the meal. It tasted quite delicious. I liked that the sauce for the take home meal was given to us separately. You could control how much sauce you added to the pasta.
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