Menus wider than your chest. The tile floor from “The Godfather.” Waiters... er, "captains" hired for pure theater. A vision for the upscaling of all of New York City's greatest Italian-American restaurants and a devotion to centralizing their cultures and atmospheric conventions. Carbone is a restaurant that New York City, with all its storied tradition of great Italian culture (think Mama Leone, Il Mulino, and Don Pepe), has been waiting for for decades. It just didn't know it.
At this joint venture between chefs Rich Torrisi and Mario Carbone and their partner, Jeff Zalaznick, pastas thrill. Consider the linguine vongole, the spaghetti puttanesca, and one of the best renditions of rigatoni vodka you’ll ever have (spicy, too!). The lobster fra diavolo, pork chop and peppers, and cherry pepper ribs are all fun. You have to appreciate a place that takes seriously the idea of upscaling Italian-American classics like chicken scarpariello and veal parm. And there are nice touches to end the meal: a modern art carrot cake and homemade limoncello, for example. All reasons why Carbone made The Daily Meal’s list of the Best Italian Restaurants in New York City. But the prices! Forgive the expression, but Mamma mia! A $58 veal parm (up from $54 not long ago) that serves one? Is that Italian?
— Arthur Bovino, 101 Best Restaurants, April 1, 2015