Day 4: Eating My Way Through NYC - "Carmine's"
On day 4, my family and I were walking around the streets of New York City. The sun was starting to set, the wind was becoming chillier, and our stomachs were getting restless as we tried to find a restaurant that would meet everyone’s needs. My brother loves steak, my father only eats fish, my mother doesn’t like anything, and you already know that my husband and I eat everything.
We finally settled on Carmine’s, partly because we had heard about it from several friends that week, but mostly because it was a block away from our current location. At the time, we did not realize that we were stepping into a food concept that we had never encountered. Carmine’s is in the theater district of New York City, so they are known for catering to big groups before or after a show or large families on vacation. As you walk in, you can hear the chatter, feel the energy and excitement of the tourist, and smell the aromas of Italian food brewing in the kitchen.
We were told that the menus are on the walls and we could choose what we wanted to eat from there. Aesthetically, this is a really cool concept. Great, the menu is on the wall. I can see what you have. However, now that I am at my table and I am no longer close to the wall, where is my menu? We were a party of 5 and couldn’t be bothered with trying to turn towards the far away wall, so after much discussion about the family-style concept and why we didn’t have menus, 3 menus were provided for our table.
This is a family-style restaurant so a large quantity is served. If you’re with a normal and easy going family, unlike my own, ordering should be simple. Everyone chooses one or two dishes that they like and you’re good to go. For my family, everyone wants a separate dish, but they can’t get it because the quantity is too large for one person and nobody wants to take back a tray of food to a hotel room that doesn’t have a microwave.
In the end, after much bickering, we ordered a salad, steak, pasta, and salmon. The salad was fresh and tasty. I really enjoyed it! The steak was a difficult task to meet. My husband and I like our steak medium-well and my brother likes his steak well-done. So, remember this is family style serving, so only one plate comes out for each entrée. In my opinion, the steak was dry, and in my brother’s opinion it was too pink. I didn’t try the salmon or the pasta, but my parents said that it was decent. Just by ordering these four entrees, we had so much food left over. If I wasn’t on vacation, and I could bring the leftovers home for lunch or dinner the following day, maybe I could see the value. However, the price seemed pretty high for five people and we ended up giving our leftovers to a homeless person around the corner.
In Carmine’s defense, our meal could have been so much smoother if we were eating with people with similar taste/diets, were splitting the bill, or if we had ordered another item that they are known for. However, that would be a perfect world, with a perfect family. In this family-style restaurant, I'm sure that there are very few families that they see that meet perfection.
Extra information: There are private rooms.
Would I recommend it? At this point, I am on the fence because I am sure that there are better NYC Italian restaurants. Also, I’m not sure that I believe that the food is worth the price because nobody needs that much food. Therefore, why am I paying for so much food? Carmine’s is like going to Costco and BJ’s for grocery shopping when you live alone. It just doesn’t make sense to me.