Just thought I'd share a little summary of a lunch I had at Carbone today. I'd heard reasonably good things about the place, and we had a farewell lunch for a colleague that I was arranging so thought it would be worth trying it out for lunch. I love Torrisi and Parm also so have been meaning to give it a try.
We were a party of 6 originally but at the last minute needed to change to a party of 5. The hostess at entrance quickly made arrangements for a setting to be removed and the table to be adjusted.
We sat, and I proceeded to commence lunch with an old fashioned from their cocktail menu. It arrived exceptionally made with one of those rather large blocks of ice.
The comically large sized menus were delivered by the exceptionally friendly (and seemingly sincere) waiter who proceeded to explain a few things about the menu as well as the additions and "86'd" items (no meatballs today). I heard no mention of the scampi and therefore as he was leaving, asked him whether it was available, to which he was surprised and responded with gratitude for reminding him, and yes they had them fresh for the day. Success.
He left us to it and the group at large proceeded to leave the food ordering to me (always a lot of pressure). I had my mind set on the the scampi as an app, the spicy rigatoni as a pasta, and the fra diavolo and veal parm as our entrees. Every other item was recommended by the waiter. When I say recommended, when he came over to take our order, I asked if he had suggestions, to which he proceeded to take our menu and tell us what he will order for us (in a charming way). Each item we were after ended up on his recommendations anyways so it worked out well. The theatrics of it all was quite fun also.
Onto the food:
Grandmas bread and warm burrata/mozzerella (I'm not sure which one) was exceptional. The cheese in particular was sublime. Creamy, warm, soft and chewy yet still had bite to it. We could have had a full meal on that cheese alone.
Priosciutto and figs were excellent. Nothing to write home about, but still very good nonetheless.
Scampi ala scampi was lovely. Covered in garlic oil/butter and cooked just right. We asked for some plain bread to mop up the butter/garlic - exceptional. I love eating with people who are not shy to use bread to soak up a shared plate of food.
A regular chopped salad played its purpose by being refreshingly light compared to the other 2 apps. Nothing special.
After the apps, we moved onto the two pastas which we all had. Everyone had a 1/2 order of spaghetti vito (I think) - it was like a carbonara sauce with a sublime taste of sea urchin throughout. The pasta tasted like the sea in the best way possible and may be one of my favorite renditions of a sea urchin pasta (I have not had Eric Riperts' dish but have been meaning to do so for quite a while).
The second pasta was teh spicy rigatoni, which was excellent and beautifully cooked. Surprisingly not as spicy as I thought it would be, but the red sauce was nicely balanced and contrasted with the previous uni pasta exceptionally.
The veal parm was next as our first entree to share and it looked fantastic. They proceeded to slice it up also and we all shared a slice. the red sauce on the veal and the cheese/basil was just all around great flavors - nothing unexpected in flavor, but just seemed like fantastic ingredients, done well. Breading on the veal was also not greasy in any way and remained crispy even after some time of chatting between mouthfuls. An excellent dish. My only sadness is that I was beaten to the bone itself! One of my other colleagues got to it first and I didnt have the heart to tell him to back off!
Next came the lobster fra diavolo. This one was over 2lbs. They de-shelled it fully and served it for us. I loved this thing. It was quite spicy (which is how I like it) and was sublimely cooked. Just amazing. Sweet lobster perfectly cooked, coupled with a sweet, tangy, and spicy red sauce. Heaven.
Desert time and we ordered one of teh chocolate cakes as well as the carrot cake. Each was excellent. I'm more of a savory man, so excuse my lack of detail on the deserts.
No limoncello or grappa (complimentary) was offered, but this was no big deal however, would have been a nice touch since we dropped over 1.2k including wines. I did finish up with an excellent recommendation from the waiter for Rhum which topped off the lunch quite nicely.
All in all a great lunch and a great place. We had a blast, and I'd like to take my wife there soon (assuming we can find a baby-sitter).
Apologies for any typos.