The hottest restaurant in NYC right now is Carbone. This new Italian joint from the "Torrisi" team, Chefs Mario Carbone and Rich Torrisi, along with partner Jeff Zalznick. It is a throwback to the 1950's, with perfectly executed fare. It's like you are at a restaurant in Little Italy, but the food here happens to be awesome. They strive hard here to bring it back to the 1950's, from the perfectly cast waiters, to the soundtrack. Jerry Lee Lewis, Rat Pack, etc. Of course, they have refined modern touches to this throwback, like the Zac Posen suits the waiters wear and the Vito Schnabel curated art on the wall.
And then there is the food. The food is all your "red sauce" joint classics, but the best you've had.
The complimentary bread basket is splendid with delicious garlic bread. Complimentary pickled vegetables, ham, and fresh parmesan come to the table too. Pure Awesomeness.
Shrimp scampi is common on all old school Italian joints, at Carbone their Scampi ($38) are Scottish langoustines, sweet, juicy, meaty, and wonderful.
The pastas I had at Carbone are unbelievable. As I was waiting for my table at the bar, Mike Nichols (the director of my favorite film "The Graduate") walked by and recommended I order the linguini with clams ($26). And I'm glad I did because it was a fabulous dish. Add some ingenious homemade spicy breadcrumbs, and it's magic in your mouth. Food & Wine Mag's very own Kate Krader also walked by and recommended I order the Spicy Rigatoni Vodka ($23), which was also amazing. That sauce had the absolute perfect kick. It was the best I've ever had.
Lobster Piccata is very tasty, but at a "market price" of $80, outrageously expensive.
Do save room for dessert at Carbone. I tried all three desserts (carrot cake, chocolate cake, cheesecake), and all were amazing and magical. I will say that the lemon cheesecake with blueberry compote was the best cheesecake I'd ever had. One bite, and culinary orgasms commenced.
While dining at Carbone the word that kept coming to mind was "Awesome". From the fabulous service, to the sensational fare, the restaurant is just that. It is an idea that is perfectly executed. A place you should check out. The Rat Pack would approve, as do I.
181 Thompson St. (between Houston and Bleecker)
New York, NY 10012