Olive Garden Italian Restaurant
In a word: When you're here, you're famished.
Chuck ate the all-you-can-eat soup and salad lunch combo.
JM ate the cheese ravioli with a lemonade.
John Se. ate the eggplant Parmesan.
Kim ate the lasagna classico with a diet Coke.
Nichole ate the chicken Caesar salad with a diet Coke.
SM ate the capellini pomodoro.
Steve ate the lasagna classico.
The bill was ? - thanks, birthday treaters!
John Se. gave Olive Garden a B; JM, Steve S. and SM gave Olive Garden a B-; Kim gave Olive Garden a B-/C+; Nichole gave Olive Garden a C- (see our grading rubric).
Another year older, another work lunch for JM. This time in the foodie hell that is the OG. We set aside our preconceived notions and tucked into our meal.
A couple of our party really noticed the slow service. Especially Chuck, who ordered the multi-course soup sampler meal, the value of which is predicated on the ability to try different kinds of soup in small bowls before your companions finish their pasta. In this case he barely got to eat a bowl of the admittedly good chili and sausage soup. Perhaps this makes the OG the best place for an office lunch - if everyone's enduring the same wait, at least the anxiety of being late back to work is mitigated.
The family-style bowl of salad was presented with a flourish and served very cold, and almost overdressed in oil. Despite that, it was the best part of JM's meal, even better than the forgettable cheese ravioli, which were neither as flavorful nor as good at sopping up the marinara as he'd hoped. Nichole's Caesar salad was not noteworthy.
The lasagna could have used more sauce and less ricotta. On the other hand, the capellini pomodoro was well-sauced, even more so than a "good" local Italian restaurant SM declined to name. The eggplant Parmesan was soggy and greasy, though the pasta was al dente. Nobody really yummed up the breadsticks, which seemed to be of the frozen dough variety.
Bottom line: The OG is filling and mostly inoffensive. That said, we don't know who really clamors to go there, outside of cash strapped college-agers who think of it as a "nice" "date" 'straunt.