Carbone’s. What can you say? They are basically the ‘godfather’ of Italian restaurants in Hartford – and they also have a bit of a personal connection to my husband’s family – as my husbands’ grandfather was friends with one of the original owners. Also, they have REALLY, really good food.
So when hey invited me in for Taste of Hartford, I was modestly thrilled. Ok, really thrilled. Ok, absolutely delighted – and so was my husband
Cheers! Hopefully this pic gives you a feel of the old school, classy Carbone’s vibe
But let’s back up a bit. This was actually my second trip to Carbone’s this week. The first was to film a cocktail segment with the delighful Paul:
Breaking down a Black Cherry Mojito – excellent for summer
Carbone’s was kind enough to provide us with an entire comped meal, and naturally we went for their Taste of Hartford menu – three courses for a fixed price of $25!
Seen here hanging out with my #Hartfordhasit notebook – thanks Erin!
I am, of course, still doing my 21 day fix (currently drinking a vegan breakfast smoothie and it’s yummy) so I was happy to see very healthy menu options – Italian places can be a little nerve wracking for eating clean, but there were plenty of vegetable and protein options to choose from!
I did cheat a bit though. A wee bit. A delicious wee bit. With a Blood Orange Martini (House made Blood Orangecello with a splash of Clementine Vodka and fresh lime)
So… yeah – there were non approved cocktail. How can you turn down house made orangello though? I mean, really. It would have been wrong not to drink it…. and also, to balance it out… my salad was delighful, healthy, and crunchy:
Delicious, bright citrusy accents of chickpea and quinoa on the Summer Quinoa Salad (grilled seasonal vegatables, quinoa, barley, lemon vinaigrette, toasted garbanzo beans, feta)
Michael opted for a more traditional garden salad:
Carbone’s Garden salad (crisp greens, garnishes, red wine vinaigrette dressing)
For his main, Mike ordered the shrimp scampi:
So Italian and so handsome! Both the pasta and the fella that is, haha (Shrimp Scampi: fresh linguini, tomatoes, capers, white wine, lemon)
Again, the #21dayfix actually worked in my favor in selecting an entree, because I chose the Veal Medallions vs. the Chicken Picatta which was calling my name. With a veggie hash, the veal appeared to be the ‘cleanest’ entree on the menu, ingredients wise, and it was also very, very delicous
Check the brussel sprouts! (Veal Medallions: summer vegetable hash, mushroom brandy cream)
The brussels were the highlight of this dish for me (go figure). I typically over roast my brussels to caramelize and remove the cabbagy flavor, but the Carbone’s ones were all dente AND also not overly pungent. Well done chefs. The rosemary added a nice punch to the veal, which was also cooked to perfection:
I may or may have not ordered a glass of merlot (Raymond R Collection, Napa Valley). Part of the 21 day fix? Probably not, on top of the martini. A full bodied, balanced pairing for the veal? Most definitely. It’s also wonderful to find a glass of Napa wine priced at $10 – very reasonable (the martini was also in the $10 price range, for anyone whose looking for price points).
Our server, Alex, was quite delightful, attentive, and kind enough to pose for a picture with our desserts:
Thanks Alex! Pictured left: Summer Berry Pound Cake (house made butter pound cake, mixed berries, whipped cream). Pictured right: Cannoli Duo (traditional chocolate and vanilla filled miniature cannoli)
The cake portion of my berry pound cake was nicely soaked with fresh berry juice, and I would have loved to have eaten more then the small bite I enjoyed (again – le fix) But Michael happily polished off his own dessert as well as the remainder of mine – so it worked out well for him I guess! What a lovely meal. Thanks again to the Carbone’s staff for inviting us in and comping the check – it was very much appreciated, and as any new parent knows, date nights without the little one are a precious commodity. So it’s best to mangia buono when they do happen!
One more quick note – Carbones Kitchen is offering a prixe fixe also – and the special “taste” menus are available at both restaurants until August 3rd – so check them out too!