I couldn't get into the overcrowded Italian restaurants around Bleecker and Carmine. So, I walked a block west on Carmine to go to the Magic Carpet for Middle Eastern. Fortunately, I spotted Cent Anni. a great Italian restaurant. It's off the beaten tourist track - (just one block), but that seems enough to keep this place relatively hidden. I've gone back twice and had fabulous meals each time. Each time they had incredible specials - all basically classic Italian dishes but each had some kind of updated, delicious twist to them. The Roast Pepper appetizer was one of the best I had ever had.
And ask for the Chocolate Lava dessert. It's like chocolate brownie batter that's blowtorched leaving it all gooey and warm on the inside and a very thin crust of brownie cake on the outside. It's incredible.
To find the place just walk down Carmine from Bleecker Street and it's just about past the middle of that long block on the East side.
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