Welcome “Carbone” with No Regrets to Rocco’s … Yes, this is what I for one am hoping to say after the most anticipated new New York Restaurant “Carbone” has opened and is in operation, which is supposed to be this coming Friday, March 9, 2013 … We have already said goodbye to an old friend, Rocco’s .. Well, me for one, as I am certain that of all the throngs of followers who are sure to pack into Rocco’s from day 1 (Friday 3/913) it is also almost certain that I will amongst the very few, 1% of the total who will pack Carbone and have eaten at its predecessor Rocco’s. Yes, I enjoyed eating at Rocco’s a number of times over the years. Rocco’s was one of just a few Old School Red-Sauce Italian Restaurant left in New York. I dying breed, much loved but going the way of the DoDo Bird. Rocco’s was solid, old school Italian New York, decor, food, and service.
Well the guys who have taken over the old Rocco’s space, Chef/Owners Mario Carbone and Rich Torrisi it so happens are the new keepers and reviver’s of the so-called Red-Sauce joints. Restaurants that have become a dying breed and much maligned, it now seems is the hot new thing in Italian eating in New York. First spawned by The Two Frankies, Frank Castronovo and Frank Facanelli .. The two Frankeis were the first to do it back in 2006 by opening a Old School Italian Red Sauce Restaurant in Carroll Gardens Brooklyn. A casual Italian Restaurant that featured Red-Sauce Italian American favorites like; Meatballs, Braciole, and homemade Cavatelli. The restaurant with a nice casual decor, good service, tasty old New York Italian Food favorites at fare prices and the passion of the two Frnakies proved to be a winnining combination and instant hit at Frankies Spuntino which with a few short years gave birth to two more Frankies restaurants in Manhattan’s lower East Side and in Greenwich Village.
Shoot ahead about four years and we have Mario Carbone and Rich Torrisi opening a great little Italian Trattoria that operates as a very-casual sort Italian Deli serving Meatball Parm Sandwiches, fresh Roast Turkey Sandwiches, and Meatball Parm Sandwiches, Soup, and a few pastas by day and a 5 Course Set Menu as a restaurant my night. This little Italian Deli/Trattoria that featured Italian and Italian American Food with a bit of a modern twist and the Carbone-Torrisi touch. And quite a good touch at that. Torrisi was wonderful executed by Torrisi and Carbone and their place Troorisi Italian Specialties was pretty much a well deserved instant success. With this quick and wonderful success of Torrisi Italian Specialty it wasn’t long before the boys opened their second restaurant to be called PARM which featured Updated Red-Sauce Italian-American Food. The restaurant Parm was opened right next door to Torrisi. Parm was even more of an instant success than Torrisi Italian Specialty and from day # 1 has been packed day and night every single day, and i do man packed and I do mean every single day. A huge Success!
Now we come to the unfortunate demise of Rocco’s, of which the owner was unable to support a huge jump in his Rent once his old lease was expired. he decided to throw in the towel, and close Rocco’s … A sad day in Greenwich Village, and a sad day for me. But when I heard that Torrisi and Mario Carbone who I had worked with at Del Posto would be opening a new place in the old Rocco’s space, my sadness quickly waned. These guys do things right. I really like Torrisi Specialties and Parm and was excited at the prospect of Mario opening a new place around the block from my apartment.
Funny thing, when you go into this new restaurant that used to be Rocco’s, you are most likely to see many dishes that you would have seen at Rocco’s. Dishes like Baked Clams, Lobster Fra d’Avlo, Spaghetti or Linguine Vongole, Veal Picatta, Braciole, and such.
“You’re seeing more protein at the table now, because they can afford it. They’re becoming more American. They’re embracing what it means to be American. They’re like: ‘I’m going to have protein for days. I’m going to show off. We’re going to have meatballs tonight, and they’re huge!’ ”
……. Mario Carbone ……
“It’s midcentury, Italian-American fine dining,” “When you look at the menu at this restaurant,” he said, “it’s going to look very familiar, which is the goal.”
“The table should be covered with food,” Mr. Carbone said. “If we do this right, you should not be able to see the cloth.” says Mr. Carbone
So yes, we Welcome Carbone. I do for one, and one who has actually eaten at Rocco’s numerous times over the years. I loved Rocco’s and was sorry to see them go. But they are gone and nothing I can do about that. I can turn my back against Carbone, but knowing Mario and what a fine Chef and restauranteur he is, I’m certainly not going to do that. I will welcome Carbone, both the restaurant and Mario into my neighborhood and I spotted I enjoyed over the years, Rocco’s. And I’m looking forward to having many fine meals and wonderful times at Carbone over the years to come. “I’m sure I will.”
Note: I will be going to eat at Carbone soon, hoefully this Friday, but certainly very soon. And when I do, I shall report back, and I’m betting that I will love it, and again Welcome Carbone and No Regrets for Rocco’s …..
CARBONE to EVOKE 1950′s DOWNTOWN ITALIAN NEW YORK …. 181 Thompson Street, Greenwich Village, New York
in “La TAVOLA” Available on AMAZON.com