Carbone is a tiny unpretentious Italian restaurant located on a relatively quiet (is anyplace quiet in NYC) street in Hell’s Kitchen. This restaurant should not be confused with the swanky restaurant by the same name in Greenwich Village.
Carbone came to my attention while I was searching for places nearby and the 3.7 rating on Zomato seemed to make this a solid choice. Upon entering I was greeted by the owner who only goes by Alessandro and a friendly host who ushered me out to their tiny private back patio. Unfortunately dodgy weather brought me back inside to avoid rain, but the cozy vibe of the place made for a great first impression. This space is probably only 12′ at its widest point and the exposed brick wall gives the impression of a back alley (think Lady and the Tramp).
I ordered a glass of the Montepulicano, which was suggested by the waiter and proved to be much to my liking, followed by the Rollatine Di Melenzane. The eggplant rolls came with the mozzarella cheese still melting on to the plate. This proved to be my favorite part of the meal. The thinly sliced eggplant were overstuffed with ricotta cheese and the tomato sauce was sweet and delicious. I used the bread to get most of the excess sauce and ricotta that oozed out when I cut the pieces to eat.
With approximately one quarter of Carbone’s dinner menu dedicated to pizza, I opted to skip the main dishes and pastas and order the Pizza Italiano which is topped with cheese, arugula, fresh tomatoes and prosciutto. When served the cheese and prosciutto smelled wonderful but ultimately it disappointed because I thought the crust lacked flavor. Based on the rollatine and the many positive reviews of this restaurant I wonder if I made a mistake and should have ordered a pasta. One thing I do know is that Tavola, which is located around the corner is the better choice for pizza. However, the cozy vibe and very reasonable price point makes this a place worth considering; just be sure to stick to the pastas.