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Spaghetti alla Carbonara

Seeking Carbonara recommendation for Brooklyn or Manhattan.
Thank you!

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  1. Lavagna by Ave. B has a great rigatoni in tomato cream sauce that I and others love.

    4 Replies
    1. re: addictedtolunch

      Sounds delicious but it's not really Carbonara. Sounds more like Rigatoni w/ Vodka or Rose/Blush Sauce.. :-)

      1. re: Tay

        No, it has sausage in the mix. Didn't bother to mention it. And it's really more a red taste than not (admittedly it's unique and tough to pin down). I have it when in a "carbonara" mood- good penne vodka though can be had almost anywhere now.

        1. re: addictedtolunch

          I suspect Tay said it's not carbonara because you mentioned tomato. Carbonara sauce includes eggs, cheese, cured pork, and sometimes cream, but never tomato. The closest thing to "red" in it is any pink in the meat of the pancetta or guanciale.

          To the O.P., I really like carbonara, but I try not to have it too often for my arteries' sake. I've had a decent more minimalist-style plate of it (very al dente, simple peppery sauce of eggs, cheese, pancetta) at Otto, and another decent, but very heavy, unctuous, creamy, somewhat Italian-Americanized and huge portion of it (if you like that kind of thing; I do!) at L&B's Spumoni Gardens. I enjoyed both, but neither was amazing.

          I also found this old post, which doesn't include that many recommendations within the city:

          And this one, which seems to confirm chrisbob's rec for Crispo:

          Good luck on your search!

          1. re: hhhippo

            "I suspect Tay said it's not carbonara because you mentioned tomato. Carbonara sauce includes eggs, cheese, cured pork, and sometimes cream, but never tomato. The closest thing to "red" in it is any pink in the meat of the pancetta or guanciale"

            Yup.. I've had Carbonare prepared with bacon, pancetta, and a few other pork variations but never, ever tomato of any kind.

    2. Frost has some of the best "red sauce" Italian food around. I've never had their Carbonara, but I would guess that it would be quite good.

      193 Frost St, Brooklyn, NY 11211

      1. Indeed I am seeing a traditional Carbonara. Thank you for the responses, but Tay had it right....no red sauce. I forgot about Crispo. Thank you and if anyone can make a Brooklyn reference (I'm wondering if Bayridge might have a place that has a great Carbonara), I would be utterly excited.

        5 Replies
        1. re: bklynkat

          L&B's Spumoni Gardens, which I mentioned before as the place where you can get the hearty, heavy, creamy version of the dish, is in Gravesend, Brooklyn (right near Bensonhurst).

          bobjbkln mentioned Frost, which is a very well-regarded old-school Italian place in Williamsburg. I think he probably characterized it as a "red sauce" joint meaning "old-fashioned, Italian-American style" where you can get familiar classics (including real carbonara) as opposed to the kind of trendier restaurant that specializes in the cuisine of, say, one northern Italian province.

          This old post is all about so-called "red sauce" places, and it might yield some more good Brooklyn suggestions: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/479194

          Has anyone tried the carbonara at Gargiulo's in Coney Island?

          1. re: hhhippo

            "Has anyone tried the carbonara at Gargiulo's in Coney Island?"

            I've had it there and at New Corner (MY go to 'Red sauce' place). If I recall correctly, they were both decent but too creamy znd did not impart enough bacon/pancetta flavor.
            I know there used to be a great version served somewhere on Arthur Ave but I cannot recall the place.

            1. re: Tay

              Thanks. Good to know. I don't mind the addition of cream (which seems to be pretty standard in this country), but I agree that too much can overwhelm the great salty-smoky-peppery flavor of an ideal version.

              1. re: Tay

                I recall really liking the Carbonara at Mario's (Arthur Ave.), but that was many years ago. Perhaps that is the place you remember.

                1. re: bobjbkln

                  "I recall really liking the Carbonara at Mario's (Arthur Ave.), "

                  It was not someone's first name but I think it may be someone's last name.
                  . I'll have to ask family/friends and post again.

          2. I love the Crispo version, which was mentioned in another post. I also really like Lupa for spaghetti carbonara.

            I don't recall if Fragole has it on the menu but if they do, I would guess they would make a great version - I have had quite a few of their pastas and they are all really well made.

            8 Replies
            1. re: pellegrino31

              Although I'm not terribly far from Fragole and love pasta beyond all reasoning, for some reason I've never been there. But I do have a birthday coming up, so that might be a good excuse! Any particular pasta recommendations?

              1. re: bklynite

                I think Fragole is great for straightforward, homestyle Italian. I love the bolognese and the short rib ragu, and the lasagne is excellent. I had a taste of the pasta with mushrooms and cream sauce once and that was also really good.

                1. re: pellegrino31

                  Thanks for the recs! Turns out we've got use of a friend's backyard grill, so are going to have a Meat-on-Open-Flame-Fest for this particular birthday. But I'm sure I'll get to Fragole one of these days!

                  1. re: bklynite

                    How on earth did you go from Spag carbonara to a 'meat fest'.?... Wait.... Never mind,

                    1. re: Tay

                      A rare chance to use a friend's backyard grill came and we couldn't pass it up!

              2. re: pellegrino31

                One more thumbs up for Crispo (we make ours at home almost exactly like theirs as we enjoy it so much).

                Lunetta has had a solid carbonara (without the intolerable addition of cream that some people botch it up with). I was pretty disappointed that Queen puts cream in theirs so decided not to order it there.

                I believe I had a good carbonara at Po on Smith.

                All that said, it's really quite a straightforward dish to make yourself, just takes a little practice dealing with the eggs so they don't scramble (the secret is tempering the eggs).

                1. re: Nehna

                  Oh! I forgot about Lunetta on Smith! The do have carbonara!
                  Thank you. Po doesn't serve carbonara...unless it's a special or something

                  1. re: bklynkat

                    hmmm I swear I had it there....maybe they stopped serving it, havent been in quite a while.

              3. Tavernetta Europa on Metropolitan Avenue (Forest Hills). Not on menu, but owner made it all the time when he lived in Germany.

                1 Reply
                1. re: dbosullivan

                  Ugh, no way Tavernetta for anything. Don't understand the interest in that place. Don't the waitresses wear costumes or something along those lines?

                2. come fall/winter, this is on the menu at baci & abbracci in WB and it's absolutely fantastic. do NOT get the sub par offering @ nearby fiore.

                  1. Wherever you end up going, La Carbonara on 14th st. doesn't have a great version if you're looking for authentic (read: no cream) which is too bad considering it's their namesake. I think La Carbonara is great for other food (and incredibly reasonable) but their carbonara has cream in it which basically makes it more like an alfredo sauce. So if you get it there just be prepared that's how they make it.

                    1. If you are willing to go to Queens (Glendale) there is a new tiny place called Giannino's on the corner of 88th St and 75th Ave i think. I had a awesome plate of spagehetti alla carbonara there tonight. Thick little hand cut slices of pancetta with a light sauce believe it or not.. you could taste the flavor of the pancetta which is what I look for in a good plate of Carbonara. It was a special though but the chef seems to be really good with pasta dishes. My wife had the Linguini with clams which was on the menu and of course I had to tasted as well Very fresh and the broth was perfect.

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: mito

                        Carbonara should never have a heavy sauce -- the 'sauce' is just egg, cheese, and bacon fat :) Not exactly health food but not 'heavy' (i.e. as a cream sauce would be) either.

                        1. re: mito

                          I went to Giannino as well. Thought it was excellent! I had the clams oreganata as an appetizer and then a dish of the pasta all'amatriciana...delicious and prices were very fair for the portions they give!

                          1. re: mito

                            Giannino Trattoria di Roma is apparently in La Tavernetta's old space.
                            When I go to Metropolitan Ave, I'll be sure to pass by. Thanks. : )