We dined at Carnevino in March. I have now been to Babbo and Carnevino, and I must say I'm underwhelmed by Batali. That being said, I had a good meal out of a pear and endive salad and the petit filet with a gorgonzola marscapone sauce that was transporting (I also coveted our friends' affettati misti). I think it doesn't quite live up to the hype or the price point though. For example, it didn't come close to knocking my socks off like Bradley Ogden did. So, I wouldn't say no, but I also would say there are more interesting places to go.
Carnevino was my first Batali experience. I was disappointed. Here's my review from March:
We had a 7 o'clock reservation at Carnevino. They took a minute to prepare the table and then they seated us. The dining area isn't very large, but tables are spaced apart nicely. I really liked that we had personal space, especially since so many restaurants, now, seem to pack in as many tables as possible.
We each ordered an iced tea, and then rosemary focaccia drizzled in olive oil was brought to the table along side butter and lardo. Our waiter forewarned us that the lardo might be a bit salty, but he encouraged us to try it. Next, an amuse bouche of parmesan and gorgonzola cheese puffs were delivered and our waiter answered our questions and shared the specials.
We decided to sample a few dishes and share everything. First, we tried the puffs. Those were better suited for the saltiness warning than the lardo. Then, we snacked on the delicious bread and lardo while we waited for our Caesar salad. Our Caesar was a mix of endive, radicchio, and romaine. It was topped with anchovies and crouton toast. Most restaurants will split a salad for us, but here we were only brought an extra plate. The dressing wasn't too notable, the romaine was wilted and the addition of the endive and radicchio wasn't well received. Neither of us liked the salad much, we hoped it would be the only weak link of the meal.
After a short wait, our entrees and sides were delivered. We had orecchiette with sweet sausage and broccoli rabe. The pasta was delicious, but the sausage was more salty than sweet. The ricotta and egg raviolo in brown butter was singular, the yolk ran out when it was cut into.
The filet was cooked to perfection, it was very tender and flavorful. Although, the crust was too salty for our taste. We've had better steaks, but the filet was the highlight of this meal.
This was my first encounter with zeppole. It wasn't what I expected. I felt the saltiness and fried taste overpowered any hint of parmesan or potato.
The artichokes were grilled and drizzled with olive oil and topped with lime. The lime was much too strong on the pieces at the top. The artichoke at toward the bottom of the dish had only a hint of lime and it was more to our liking.
Dessert was offered, but we passed. A complimentary bite of an Italian energy bar was delivered along with the check. It was nutty with carmel and a strong taste of what I believed to be anise.
Our bill came to $126. Service throughout the meal was good and well timed. Howbeit, when the reservation was made, it was noted that this was a birthday celebration, but it was not recognized during our meal. While that's not pivotal, other restaurants we've dined have gone out of their way to make the experience special. Overall, we weren't too pleased by the food. As you might of guessed, it was just too salty for our liking.
We were at the Carnevino last weekend. The service was very slow and unorganised. Throughout our meal, we had atleast 6 different waiters..so you can imagine how disorganised they were. However,The Capresse Insalata is the best I have ever tasted and our New York strip was perfect. By the same token,what is the point of good food if the service is not upto the mark, especially in an upscale restaurant which commands thier price. On a previous occasion, we have visited The Delmonico at the Venetian and I would defintley suggest it, over Mario Batali's new offering.