With nostalgia at the forefront, Carbone is plain gorgeous. While this big, bold and beautiful ode to Italian-Americana comes alive at night under the low lights, lunch is equally admired among brash bankers with big appetites and their Valentino-donning divas. That same sense of history pervades the entire space, which highlights plush banquettes, impressive ceramics and glittering chandeliers. Was the striking tiled-floor inspired by a certain restaurant scene in The Godfather? Indeed.
Mid-century classics are what this menu is all about, but exalted ingredients, skill and presentations will excite even the most cynical savant. Stylish servers—who work the floor with a little flirt and lot of flair—remain in character while presenting top antipasti like crusty garlic bread, soppressata and fresh, particularly divine olive oil-dunked mozzarella. Spaghetti alla gricia may be simple but dazzles just the same, and chicken scarpariello in a garlicky crumb coating dolls up traditional red-sauce cooking with a chunky stew-like sauce with peppers and mushrooms.
Though the prices here are jaw-dropping, all is forgiven after one bite of the drool-worthy, six-layer blackout cake.