Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Chicken Caesar Review: Johnny Carino's

Johnny Carino's is a new Italian chain in town. They seem to be offering a slightly different atmosphere than Carrabba's and also describe their cooking as "Country Italian". Not knowing what that means, I'll take their word for it and just focus on their salad. Their Grilled Chicken Caesar, which runs $7.49, includes wood-grilled chicken and romaine lettuce tossed in Caesar dressing and topped with roma tomatoes, black olives, red onions, Parmesan cheese & croutons.

Although the description says "Grilled" chicken, Johnny Carino's chicken is similar to Panera's: cooked ahead of time and cold yet still juicy. Furthermore, the chicken in this salad is shredded and spread across the top mixed with Parmesan. This is not a criticism as such, since the chicken is very tasty and complements the salad well, but it is a note of warning to potential diners that there is no grilled flavor to the chicken. Also unusual to the salad are the additional ingredients of roma tomatoes, black olives, and red onions. These ingredients, along with the lettuce, are all fresh and have strong flavors that come across individually. This is helped, in part, by a Caesar/Ranch dressing mixture that is subtle and does not override the other ingredients. Finally, the croutons, although fresh, were few and only rated as adequate.

For such an upper price range restaurant, this is a cheap Chicken Caesar, and very distinctive to boot. I'd recommend this to anyone interested in a nice salad the next time they go Italian.

1 comment:

hi said...

yum!