Since I’ve known these guys for quite some time, I wanted to try the new spot with an objective mind. Great location, great decor (artwork by Julian Schnabel), and quickly gets packed and VERY loud. Service is friendly but not smothering which is nice. Portions are HUGE – yes veal parm is $54 but it feeds 4. Very good. Meatballs were a highlight. They generously start off the meal old school style with the parmesan/ focaccia, mix of breads and breadsticks. Time consuming but fun are the old school tableside items: caesar salad, (very garlicky so watch out), and new for fall is roasted squash (excellent) and some sizzling, fajita sounding peppery smoky something from the next table over.
Desserts are also HUGE – lemon cheesecake paired well with limoncello, carrot cake was amazing. Loud, boisterous, trendy spot right now. Bar area needs a redesign (essentially nonexistent) – there’s only room for 2ppl so if you’re waiting for a table there’s no place to perch or hang out with a nice drink. This creates a chaotic scene at the entrance and people waiting seemed irritated. All in all, Carbone is a throwback to that old school classic style, and a nice departure from all the miniature micro cuisine. The early reservations are actually better since it’s less frantic. Finally all the big burly brokers and former NFL players (spotted here) have a new spot to call home where they can actually recognize what they’re eating and leave completely stuffed to the gills.
181 Thompson Street
New York NY 10012
tel. +1 212 254 3000