I had really high expectations coming into Carbone. I am a big fan of Torrisi, I even blogged here how it is my new favorite Italian restaurant. Therefore I was really looking forward to go the their new place. Additionally, it just received a new michelin star, and it had a dish in Time Out’s top 10 NY dishes. I read this week the Adam Platts review of ZZbar how he got kicked out for his bad review of Carbone, and my thoughts of my night there were: I agree completely with him.
The Place: Physically the place is really cool, great entrance as you can see from the photos above and it has a great atmosphere inside. However, the noise level was out of control. The place has terrible acoustics, and to top it all off the music was way too loud. To top it off we had a table of 8 15 year olds next to us who could not be louder or more annoying. All of that combined, means that we could barely get a word in in our table, I couldn’t even hear what the person in front of me was saying. I dont mind that in a bar,but in a restaurant, not so cool.
The Service: This is were the restaurant fell for me. The woman who took our oder wasn’t really a waiter per say, you could tell they were more using “hostesses”, kind of gives them a more important quality. It took forever to get our order taken. I always get nervous when people who are serving you dont write down things. She didnt and proceeded to forget one of our appetizers and our side dishes for the main. But the worst thing was that when I asked about it she kept insisting we didn’t order it. That just pissed me off because 1. we had previous proof of her forgetting our appetizers and 2. what happens to the client is always right?
The Food: All of the above I could have forgiven if the food was amazing. I probably wouldnt have remembered the next morning. That however was not the case. The food was average to good at best. for appetizers, we had carpaccio, which was according to my sister really good, and I had the Octopus Pizzaiolo. It was good but not spectacular. Very well cooked octopus, but the tomato sauce as a bit too heavy. For main in my table they ordered the spicy rigattoni vodka, the lobster mezzaluna, and whole branzino. I ordered the gluten free spicy rigattoni. It was howerver quite disappointing, as unlike other italians in the city like del posto or maialino, the gluten free pasta was store bought and quite bad, therefore even though the sauce was great, it just wasn’t amazing. However as good as the sauce was, i did not get how it made it to the top 10 dishes in NY, even if it was mixed with the most amazing pasta. For dessert they had run out ofthe famous carrot cake so no luck there as well.
I will definitely go back to Torrisi multiple times, but Carbone, probably never again. A friend of our went the same weekend and had the same negative experience.
Overall verdict: If you want A Jean George Restaurant, ABC Kitchen is so much better. If you want mexican, go to Empellon, they do it so much better. Its not that its bad, its just that its average and there are better options in NY city. What did we order:
- guacamole with sungold tomato salsa and warm crunchy tortillas: ok there were two problems here. First, the guacamole wasn’t super seasoned, it was just ok. but the bad thing is that the tortillas were too oily, making us not want to eat more guacamole
- raw shaved fluke with green chili dressing, crunchy rice and herbs: this was a very solid dish. Not amazingly flavorful but generally very nice
- sweet corn with queso de mano cheese and lime: another nice but not fabulous dish
- sautéed mushroom tacos, mole, kale and lime: this was a really nice taco. good mix. however i have to say the kale was too oily and not crispy enough. empellon does crispy kale so much better.
- chipotle chicken tacos, grilled jalapeno salsa: this one was my favorite dish of everything I tried. Very spicy but great flavor.
The dessert menu looked like heaven for my family, little chocolate and lots of woderful stuff like:warm vanilla fritterscaramelized white chocolate rice pudding, soft and crunchy almond cake, cream cheese tres leches cake, salted caramel ‘impossible’ flan and seasonal popsicles. We ordered the tres leches and the flan. I love salted caramel, but the flan was really bad. There was a mix of temperatures that wasnt working. furthermore, the salted caramel really hadn’t settled. There were separated pieces of salt in a sugar syrup that just wasn’t joined properly.