For those not familiar with Carmine’s, it’s an amazing Italian family restaurant. It opened its doors back in 1990, and pride itself to for making any meal feel like an Italian American wedding feast.
Many of my colleagues had spoken about Carmine’s, and I have heard reference to it on the radio and even in a few movies
… I think!
It was one of those places we simply had to visit, but we rarely went into the City. If we did, it was mostly my wife and I, or perhaps just for a few business meetings.
A few days ago, the opportunity came knocking. We had planned a visit to Broadway to see the “King and I” musical, as part of a fantastic offer with TDF who organises autism friendly performances.
After the amazing performance, it was late in the afternoon and we needed to refuel our bodies with some lovely food. I unlocked my iPhone, opened the OpenTable app and made a reservation at Carmine’s. It was like a new adventure was about to start. Something mystical and mesmerising.
It was a journey to Shangri-La of food happy utopia, where we would sample wonderful dishes in a great atmosphere and among likeminded food loving people.
The place itself wasn’t something amazing on the outside. It was merely a small shop front, which led into a small bar area, full of people. Then a dark magical staircase to the other side – to the promised land.
As we ascended the stairs, we were greeted by numerous scents and flavours. It was in reality a smack to the face of gourmet food, and I was almost knocked off my feet by the sheer vapour bomb of food smells …. lovely food smell.
The waiter placed us at a family sized table, comfortable seating all five of us. I glanced around the room and was pleasant surprised that this was in fact only large families. People were happy, smiling, laughing and eating. My kind of place!
We were Carmine virgins. At least that’s what I told the very friendly waiter, and he was enthusiastic about explaining us the Carmine Code. It was simple actually.
"This is a family restaurant
We serve family sized portions
The table share the food."
We ordered a salad, veal steak w/ mash and mixed plate of pasta. According to the waiter, this should feed our hungry family.
Half way through the salad, which made Olive Garden’s salad tray look like a starter, I realized that we might have ordered a bit too much.
Then the two main courses arrived and I must’ve arrived in heaven. In front of us were two large sized trays, filled with food. Enough food to feed our family for a week.
I had to sample every piece, and it was fantastic. Not Michelin star food, but real Italian style food, almost as mama would make it. And, that was despite the amount of people who were eating with us, how many had been before us, and how many were coming after us.
I hit the food brickwall hard. It was not unpleasant, but I was disappointed with my own performance. We had barely made a dent in the past samples, and still half veal dish left.
Thankfully they have an excellent doggie bag attitude, and placed all the left-overs in tinfoil trays and a large shopping bag.
It was heaven. We had just witnessed a food revelation and had in an instant become Carmine followers. This was an amazing experience, and thank you food God for letting us experience utter stuffedness.