Carmine’s is a classic institution known for its bustling environment and (enormous) family style plates. Unbeknownst to many, the restaurant offers an extensive gluten-free menu that has adapted many of their classic pasta and meat dishes to accommodate GF diners. Options include over ten different pasta options, chicken, seafood, beef, mussels—basically everything you come to expect from an Italian restaurant. We thought the most difficult part of the evening was going to be deciding what to order, but it may have been figuring out how much. The portion sizes were incredibly large and even the waiters comically warn you to not over order. For a table of six, we had an appetizer and three entrees…and it was enough food to satiate two groups our size. Let’s just say, you can leave with lunch for the next day, at the very least…
We started with the chicken scarpariello wings, a great way to hold over growling stomachs. Light, juicy and tender—they weren’t your typical wings, but rather were seasoned with garlic and thyme, and no sauce. Our entrees took a while, but we were regularly assured that they were on the way and that the cooks were cleaning the kitchen equipment to limit cross-contamination. A team of waiters came with our entrees, two of which needed to add an extender to our table to make room.
The broccoli with white sauce was hands down my favorite (ordered without bread crumbs). The pasta was so delicious, I kept wondering if it was actually gluten free. The sauce was perfectly rich and creamy without being too heavy. The calamari (no breading) with red sauce had the perfect amount of seafood flavor and the sauce tasted nearly homemade. The same pasta is used across all of the past dishes, but you certainly don’t mind.
The special for the night was the porterhouse steak and it was surprisingly delicious. Never one to get any cut but a filet mignon (and at a steakhouse), we took a gamble and it was the clear winner on the table, especially for the guys. The waiter cautioned that it was prepared with flour, but they were able to accommodate our GF request. Prepared rare, it was incredibly tender and full of flavor.
Overall, we had a great time at Carmine’s. The atmosphere was buzzy with locals and tourists alike and the portion sizes make it feel as though dinner was a show unto its own. Often thought of as solely an after-show hot spot, Carmine’s deserves to be visited by every gluten-free diner, on any night of the week.