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Friday, November 14, 2008

Lunch Report: Olive Garden in Alamo Ranch...

I know they have been open a while, but we are really opposed to full parking lots, crowds, and most of all, waiting to eat, so it took us a while to find the right time to try out the new Olive Garden in Alamo Ranch.Hey, it's Olive Garden - you've been there and don't need me to give you the run down. I find it is one of those places that you either enjoy or you don't. Having dined there throughout the country, I find them to be pretty consistent, even if I'm not their biggest fan.All it takes is one of those $2.00 off coupons and a place to park, and I'm game, so we went in and gave the place a try. As you would expect, the place looked nice and clean and resembled all the other OG's I've been to. I liked the fact that we could see lots of wait staff scrambling around. Big plus.We ordered some tea - me the unsweetened version, and my wife got some sort of Raspberry-Peach concoction that had actual peaches in it. For $2.65, it ought to come with some Italian guy delivering sips of it in a silver spoon. Oh well, free refills anyway. And by the way, the real peaches are a nice touch, but way, seriously, way too sweet. My wife ended up asking them to mix it with some unsweetened tea to make it manageable.

We ordered the soup & salad combo (you know, with the bread sticks), and then just to try something different got an appetizer.
The salad: I can't complain at all. It was consistent with what I have experienced before at other OG's. They bring you out a salad bowl with enough for each person to have one serving. I enjoy OG's salad but can think of several places off the top of my head that has just as good or much better. But really, do you go just for the salad? Yea, I guess I could have had just one serving and not two full bowls.The bread sticks: We all know this is the best part. They were good but seemed stale. Did that stop me? Not at all.The soup: My wife had the minestrone. She enjoyed a complete bowl but casually tossed the Italian cut green beans into my bowl.I had the Zuppa Tuscana. Two bowls worth, both delicious and served hot. Dip your stale bread sticks in it and you'll be souper happy.The appetizer: We could have easily skipped this and been completely full from the soup and salad, but my wife wanted the calamari and I was eager to try the stuffed mushrooms. Served with two dipping sauces, you have to eat calamari while it is hot, otherwise it starts to get all squid-like. The stuffed mushrooms are worth a trip all by themselves. I am so serious. Do you think I could just go to the bar (do they have a bar at OG?) and order a tall beer and just a huge plate of those stuffed mushrooms? I'm serious, I asked my wife if she thought anyone would mind if I picked up the little serving tray and licked it. She suggested I use a bread stick instead. Oh, in case you are gauging the picture for portion size, you should know that I had already tossed two of the stuffed mushrooms down my gullet before remembering to take the picture. I know, it isn't like me to make such a horrendous error in eating form, but they were so good!

We had great service at this OG. In addition to our waiter, we had two servers and the girl who seated us came back and gave tea refills. It seems as though the staff has come together pretty quickly since opening, at least for the shift we visited.
So for good service, consistent food and seriously wonderful stuffed mushrooms, the AR OG is a Tasty Treat in my book and I'll go back from time to time - unless they are crowded. And that makes my wife happy because she loves the OG.

Have you been to the Olive Garden in Alamo Ranch? Tell me about it.


Roxanne said...

I LOVE OLIVE GARDEN! I usually get the same tea mom did and ilove it, then again I like my tea very sweet. If you happen to go again (maybe when I'm in town) the tour of Italy is large enough to feed Cat and I to a miserably stuffed coma, with it's backed lasanga, chicken parm and fetuccini alfredo. Just a little food for thought ;)

Prezgal said...

I'm with Roxanne! I live in Alamo Ranch, love it here, and love OG. The quality of the food belies the price. You can pay much more for a less consistent and smaller meal. Wait staff is always terrific, They hire college kids who need the money. A great addition to this side of town!

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I love to observe the odd things happening around me as I go about my day. I especially like it when I can get a picture of people being themselves. Here, I attempt to report the various people and events I have encountered in my neighborhood, and my city. I'd also love to hear from you. Feel free to e-mail your experiences and photos of life in San Antonio.

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