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The Early Word on Carbone, the Latest from Team Torrisi

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Carbone, the brand-spanking-new West Village restaurant from Rich Torrisi, Mario Carbone, and Jeff Zalaznick of Torrisi Italian Specialties and Parm, opened earlier this month amid a ton of hype, the majority of which had nothing to do with the carrot cake. Despite all of the fuss, diners have begun taking to the web with their varied opinions about the food and drink (and the price) at this plush red gravy outpost. Here's what everyone is saying so far:

The Good News: While the first Yelp review is most definitely a shill, this one is more legit, (as the Yelper in question has reviewed 200-plus places): "What really shines about this place is the service and the vibe that is so tongue-in-cheek-that-its-not-tongue-in-cheek-at-­all. Never has 'that's amore' been so perfectly placed in my life - right in between forkfuls of delicious spicy rigatoni a la vodka.

I read an article somewhere over the summer about the 'extras' being planned - they came early and often. Clumps of delicious Parmesan, A slice of ham, 'Grandma's Bread', House made pickles in olive oil, a bread basket (fans of parm will quickly notice the familiarity of the best garlic bread in town), fried bowtie cookies (cenci alla fiorentina), housemade limoncello, housemade grappa, and the most aw-shucks of them all - Sambuca, which the 'wine advisor' (sommelier does not feel right in this instance) left on the table saying - 'have as much as you want'. You can only have so much Sambuca, but it was appreciated." [Yelp]

The Bad News: On the price, from Foursquare: "You don't need to pay $50 for good veal parm, go for the Scarpiello instead, updated w tangy sauce & sausage." [Foursquare]

The Hyped News: Back to Yelp, with this three-star review that calls the food "exceptional" but raises concerns about the service, concluding: "We were very surprised at our experience given what the Torrisi boys mentioned in the NY Times and NYMag articles about the vision they had for Carbone, especially with our experience being on a Wednesday night. Don't believe all of the marketing hype about walking in and getting the 1950s, Rao's or Il Mullino experience. Be ready to dine at the current NY hotspot with the usual sense of entitlement and your expectations will be on par with what you'll experience. We hope to check out Carbone in a year or so well after it has gone through its excitement phase. What happened to the days where the Torrisi boys were serving their cheap, GLORIOUSLY done tasting menu and running a sandwich shop in the same spot during the day......sigh" [Yelp]

The Out-of-This-World News: Matthew W. of Foursquare has this tip for the hungry: "The veal parm is out of this world." [Foursquare]

The Pricey News: From Chowhound: "in short: the food, scene, vibe are all great. the food is like a cross between parm and torrisi. it's a big pricey [sic] for a regular night out, but for a splurge, or a big group, it'd be great. try and go here." Later in the thread, that same poster adds: "Oh, and the linguine with clams was awesome. A bunch of different types of clams (I'm pretty sure there were some razor clams in there) and a real good sauce. One of the better ones I've had." [Chow]

The Sincere News: From Mouthfuls: "Whether you like this place depends on two questions. The first is, do you think the old-school American-Italian cuisine is legit. when it's done well? Quite a few people responding on this thread seem to think: no. In that case, a more expensive version of a cuisine you never thought was any good to begin with, is obviously going to be a failure, right out of the gate, no matter what they do with it.

The second is: Do you think Carbone is a sincere attempt to do the thing well, or is it an exercise in cynicism?

My answer is: 1) It's legit. when done well; and 2) The attempt here is sincere, and largely successful. But if you don't think the referent is legit., then don't go. You'll spend a lot of money, and you'll be miserable the whole time." [Mouthfuls]

The Reichl-Bruni News: The heavy-hitters on Twitter approve. Here's Ruth Reichl: "Dinner tonight:Carbone. Perfectly cast. The past on a plate. Great soundtrack. To eat? Baked clams.Truffled carpaccio. Zuppa di pesce." And Frank Bruni: "Smashing dinner at NYC's new Carbone. If u go don't miss caesar salad, carpaccio w/black truffles, spicy rigatoni vodka, cheesecake." [Twitter]

· All Coverage of Carbone [~ENY~]
?Elizabeth Chadwick and Alexander Hancock


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