50 Carmine Street

New restaurants are sprouting up all over town. It is hard to keep up with them. 50 Carmine has been on my list for awhile. I have called a few times at the last minute but wasn’t able to get in. Last night, we just walked in around 7:30 and got a table for four. Our lucky night.

First of all, the company we were with was fun, so that always sets the tone. The food however, was delicious too! The restaurant has a real neighborhood vibe. Nothing fancy, warm tones, good service. Typical Italian that there are 3 courses to choose from. The appetizers, the pasta and an entree.

I had a delicious warmed escarole salad with croutons tossed in a warm anchovy vinagarette. My friend has the chopped salad with hazelnut dressing that exploded in your mouth and was light and refreshing. Someone else had the grilled calamari covered with crispy breadcrumbs. My husband had the appetizer special which was pork braised until crisp with shaved fennel and celery. All four of them were absolutely delicious with different flavors and consistencies.

Only one of us got a pasta for their main course. We didn’t go for the 3 courses. I generally find it too much although I am always tempted to indulge in the pastas. I had the special salmon with was cooked to perfection over a barley pea concoction. My husband had the fish soup which he loved.

We couldn’t help but try 2 desserts for the table. The pound cake made with olive oil was really really good. I’d like to find a recipe to make one at home myself. We also had a spicy chocolate tart which gave you a real kick in your mouth.

I can’t remember the wine we had but it was a nice rich red which was the perfect accompanienment to the meal.

I am absolutely going back. The chef, Sarah Jenkins, is pushing the envelope, not unalike Mario Batalli, in her quest for original tasting Italian food. A real pleasure.