The difference between a good Italian restaurant and a great Italian restaurant?
Consistency. And a damn good sauce.
Carbone is one of those places that never stops being good; every time I come here, no matter the day, hour, or season, it’s good. Ok, it’s very good.
When you sit down, they bring you an almost-comically large menu. And I don’t mean filled with a ton of options, I mean it’s an industrial-sized menu with about 10 sentences on it. I like it. It makes me feel like they know they’re being ridiculous and I appreciate that kind of ownership of hubris.
But I digress.
The fresh mozz, salami, cheese, and garlic bread comes to the table. It’s quite literally my favorite food groups in the very first course. And I didn’t even order it! Mind readers, I tell you. The garlic bread is so crisp yet chewy, the garlic is a little sweet while being just pungent enough to make you linger over it, tempting you to take in those notes. The fresh mozzarella is cut by hand with a small pair of scissors, and if you want to know what true love tastes like, just spread a little diamond of mozz on the garlic bread. Good night.
Moving on – the meatballs are now on the menu, but they used to be an off-menu item back in the day. I’m old enough to say “back in the day” so that’s a fun realization too. Digressing again. The meatballs at Carbone are big, but they’re perfectly cooked, with a soft and light texture. Topped with fresh basil and a generous helping of red sauce…my god. I could leave right now and be happy but…
The Spicy Rigatoni Vodka. It really is as good as they say. I don’t know who came up with this vodka sauce, but I would bottle it, stockpile it, and sell it on the black market. It’s so velvety – not heavy at all like most cream sauces – with just the right amount of heat. Some people do find it a little spicy for their taste, but I have a high tolerance so I love it.
Another mainstay on this menu: the veal chop parmigiana. I’m normally not a big veal person, but I make the exception when it’s this good. Thick cut, bone-in chop, breaded and fried with that awesome red sauce and a blanket of fresh mozz draped over.
As you know, I’m not a dessert person, so I skipped that and had some more wine/cheese instead. I’m just that kinda gal.
It is definitely hard to get a reservation, so if you want to try to get in here, lunch is a good bet (still make a reservation though), and book way in advance!
181 Thompson Street
Website/reservations: Click here