Foodie Find: Carbone
The city's most coveted dining destination is serving authentic Italian food against a dramatic backdrop.
Carbone, the New York-Italian style eatery, is the city’s most hard-to-get reservation. Everyone is clamoring to be served and seen at the destination with authentic Italian fare, extreme interior drama and the excitement of well-dressed people buzzing from the patio to the bar to the ornate dining room.
Miami’s outpost of the New York original has a demand so fierce, even socialites and bold-faced names have grabbed the 6 p.m. seatings they would snub at any other establishment. The Miami Herald’s Carlos Frías reports the waiting list for a table is 2000 people deep and two months long.
It’s most certainly a feast for all senses. The entire space is masterminded by the renowned Ken Fulk, a design impresario known for layered interiors high concept brand identities. Here, the leather upholstered banquettes are emerald green and the chairs dressed in animal prints. It’s all aglow from Murano scones and Malachite ceiling beams.
“My inspiration for Carbone was Maria Callas and Frank Sinatra waking up in a suite on the Grand Canal after a night of passion,” says Fulk.
The food also ignites a serious desire. The most instragramed dish of the season is Carbon’s Spicy Rigatoni in vodka sauce. And this menu item is deserving of the all the attention, thanks to a hint of heat balanced by the smoothness of the sauce. The Cesear “A la ZZ” is prepared tableside while the assorted baked clams offer a trio of experiences from the same shellfish. Don’t miss the Carpaccio Piemontese, which is an upgraded preparation of the classic tenderloin, or the Sizzling Pancetta. The Octopus Pizzaiolo matches a Miami favorite with chunky fresh tomatoes and the Eggplant & Zucchini Scapece would make any Southern Italian proud.
For other pastas – on this menu authentically labeled “macaroni” – select a modern preparation such as the Tortellini al Ragu, Orecchiette Vito, and or a classic, such as Spaghetti Puttanesca or Linguini Vongole.
The Dover Piccata is a standout with lemon and capers and Lobster Fra Diavolo is as succulent as it is spicy. For meats – or, rather, “carni” – try the Veal Parmesan served in a cast iron skillet or the Chicken Scarpariello.
Dessert here is decedent. The house-baked carrot cake is a colossal and curvy portion covered in cream cheese icing and pecans. The lemon cheesecake is creamy, with a crumbly crust and the coconut cream pie slice stands tall. And the rest of the cart is filled with fresh takes that make choosing a difficult task.
Carbone was founded by the company Major Food Group owned by Mario Carbone, Jeff Zalaznick and Rich Torrisi. It now operates 26 restaurants including Dirty French and The Lobster Club in New York. The company says it’s slated to reveal new projects in Brickell and the Design District.
Brett Graff is SocialMiami.com’s managing editor and has been a journalist covering money, people and power for over 20 years. Graff contributes to national media outlets including Reuters, Glamour, Harper’s Bazaar, Maxim, and the PBS show, Nightly Business Report. A former U.S. government economist, her nationally syndicated column The Home Economist is first published in The Miami Herald and then on the Tribune Content Agency, where it’s available to over 400 publications nationwide. She is broadcast weekly on two iHeartRadio news shows and is the author of “Not Buying It: Stop Overspending & Start Raising Happier, Healthier, More Successful Kids,” a parenting guide for people who might be tempted to buy their children the very obstacles they’re trying to avoid.