2013 Schramsberg Brut Rose
Rosemary Focaccia with Lardo and European Butter
Prosciutto di Parma ‘Riserva’ Gnocco Fritto
Little Gem Salad with Guanciale, Gorgonzola, Pickled Onions, Apples, Walnuts
Grilled Octopus with Pickled Vegetables and Limoncello
Squash Blossoms with Blue Crab
Burrata Crostini with Balsamic, Tomatoes, Pesto and Basil
Carne Cruda alla Piemontese Crostini – Steak Tartare with Raw Musrooms
Sweet Corn Agnolotti with Brown Butter
Bucatini all’ Amatriciana
Beef Cheek Ravioli with Butter and Aged Balsamic
Gnocchi with Gorgonzola, Figs, Arugula and Walnuts
Heritage Foods Cider Brined 20oz Pork Chop Milanese with Pepper Jelly
Strauss Farms Veal Chop with Porcini Rub
BBL Dry Aged Bone-In Ribeye
Tagliata di Manzo – BBL Beef, Arugula Parmigiano
Grilled Corn with Pickled Peppers and Lime Salt
Mascarpone & Guanciale Mashed Potatoes
Spinach with Garlic & Hot Peppers
Cauliflower with Lemon and Bagna Cauda
PB&J Cheesecake with sliced Grapes, Salted Peanut Butter
Bacon, Fig, and Pumpkin Tart
Peach Budino with Lemon Butterscotch and Fresh Peaches
Banana Bombolini with Sweet Mascarpone
Espresso, Vanilla, Chocolate Stout Gelato
Melon, Peach, Apricot Sorbetti
La Colombe Double Espresso on Ice
Having seen a changing of the guard in 2016, Chef Nicole Brisson rising in the B&B Empire to oversee all the Orange-Crocs-clad Chef’s restaurants in The Venetian and The Palazzo, it was without any hesitation that another large-group meal was arranged to celebrate this year’s Olympia Weekend, the restaurant surprisingly quiet on a September Saturday at 8:30pm, even though the Steakhouse remains unrivaled.
Now toqued by Jon Littleton, though the Food & Wine event plus Vacation time saw one of the Sous on the line, it was at a lengthy ten-top in the back room that a group predominantly hailing from New York was seated, a Carte Blanche Prix-Fixe developed by Chef Brisson seeing four-courses and too much drinking, many of the items offered new for the Fall.
A truly epic spread of two-dozen items, the first round offered slightly different from the menu as Crostini or individual bites easily passed around, Steak Tartare and Octopus remain reference-standard examples of why Carnevino continues to accumulate accolades as one of the Nation’s best restaurants, the Little Gem Salad far more than the average Wedge while Squash Blossoms ate like Crab Rangoon on a whole different level as fresh picked Meat was married to just enough Cheese to make each bite stretchy and rich.
Always happy to see the team’s handmade Pastas, a recent trip to Italy raising the bar high, Carnevino’s Bucatini continues to shine as each hollow strand is delivered al dente with richly flavored Meat Sauce, the Off-menu Beef Cheek Ravioli requested in plethora by the man at the head of the table while both the late-Summer Agnolotti and new-season’s Gnocchi were smooth and supple, the portions trending sort of small but the flavors expectedly pronounced.
Going heavy on the meats, a total of three Bone-In Ribeyes carved tableside proving plenty to go around, sides continue to show creativity though the spice of Spinach and brine of Bagna Cauda were not to everyone at the table’s liking, both the Veal and Pork Chop received far more zealously with the zippy Jalapeno Jam delicious not only with the Meats but as a palate refresher as diners sampled around.
Having joked with the Chef and Staff that desserts were sold out by meal’s end in 2015 it was with a glut served that the meal would end, Chef Ashley Costa’s Peach Pudding Cake and Banana Bombolini as elegant in flavor as they are rustic in construction, Gelato a bit over-frozen on this particular evening, but the newly launched Pumpkin Tart and creamy Peanut Butter Cheesecake also very good.
FOUR AND A HALF STARS: Seeing more than a handful service errors during the evening, the Captain trying to keep it together despite backstaff leaving drinks at the bar, mispresenting plates and serving several items in sizes that were simply not sufficient to go around, the cuisine at Carnevino shows no signs of dropping off under the new Kitchen Staff as the menu continues evolve seasonally with some of the best Meat and Produce in town.
RECOMMENDED: Grilled Octopus, Squash Blossoms with Blue Crab, Corn Agnolotti, Beef Cheek Ravioli, Pork Chop Milanese, Bone-In Ribeye, Banana Bomboloni, Peach Budino.
AVOID: The Spinach did not particularly impress due to the hefty degree of heat while Gelato were rock hard with small ice crystals in the Espresso and Vanilla versions making one wonder if it had thawed and been re-frozen.
TIP: As noted, the menu was large format and some items offered are not yet featured. Contact the restaurant directly for similar group requests.
WHAT THE STARS MEAN: 5 World Class, 4 Excellent, 3 Good, 2 Fair, 1 Poor.