Carbone NYC has been on my priority list for a long time but somehow, other places have always preceded it. Finally we booked it for a dinner with my favourite lawyers, and believe it or not, they are actually great fun. As my dinner was with five men, I knew we would have plenty of food and the potential to explore almost the entire menu.
Carbone’s premise is old school Italian, meaning traditional dishes in a classic setting. But the place is buzzy and has a good vibe. But it is also extremely dark, which is very evident by how bad my pictures are……..
The menu includes lots of the classic red sauce dishes as well as things I’ve not had in ages such as veal parm, etc.
I apologise in advance for my pictures. Carbone is dark, and the food is not the most visually appealing when you take one massive dish and put a portion on each plate. It gets messy and gooey, but that’s all part of the fun.
What we ate:
The meal starts off with a massive amount of food being placed on the table including tasty tomato focaccia, salami, and other items…
Clams multiple ways: we got oreganata, casino and baked clams. They were good but a bit overly sauced and heavy for my taste.
Sizzling pancetta: massive pork with some veggies…
Spicy rigatoni vodka: probably my favourite as I had not had pasta à la vodka in ages and I love the creaminess mixed with the tomato. This one was al-dente and had a great spicy kick and it paired very well with the massive meat balls.
Side of artichoke hearts: a bit bland but ok…
Veal parmesan: a good version, but not the best I’ve had as it was a tad dry…The picture is horrible I know but they had one massive veal parm on a platter that rapidly was portioned out and put in smaller plates so it looks terrible.
I have no idea what this beef dish was to be honest, as I didn’t order it and food just kept materialising…
Shrimp: cooked well, but a bit oily and the sauce overwhelmed this nice crustacean. I wouldn’t normally order shrimp at a restaurant trying to bring old Italia back into fashion but one of my co-workers loves seafood and wanted to try.
Carrot cake: a massive slice topped with cream cheese icing, served with a scoop of ginger ice cream. I found it to be slightly dry and I prefer it when carrot cakes have cream cheese between the layers of cake, like at Gail’s in London (thank you Claire for telling me how good it is).
Lemon cheesecake: I was surprised this was my favourite as I usually don’t love lemony desserts, but it was very creamy and served on a nicely buttery crust.
Chocolate brownie with ice cream: ok but not memorable, maybe due to all of the wine we had consumed by this point in the meal. But I never understand why people serve chocolate ice cream on chocolate desserts, despite my love for chocolate, vanilla, salted caramel, etc work so much better!
In sum: fun and lively and a great place for a guy’s night out. It is not cheap and the food won’t blow you away. I am not surprised they recently opened outposts in Las Vegas and Hong Kong, as it works perfectly for a fun business dinner overdosing on pasta, meatballs and yummy red vino!
Would I go again? I probably would go back to other Italians I love like L’Artusi instead.
181 Thompson St. New York, NY 10028
For Reservations: (212) 254-3000