photo credit: Café Carmellini

Café Carmellini  image

Café Carmellini



$$$$Perfect For:Date Night
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Hats off to Café Carmellini. The first fine dining spot from the chef behind Locanda Verde, The Dutch, and Bar Primi, this Nomad restaurant uses theatrical chandeliers, indoor trees, and sweeping velvet banquettes to maximum, glamorous effect. It’s quite the accomplishment, and it all feels slightly hollow.

A mix of French and Italian, Café Carmellini’s menu leans heavily on luxe ingredients, with too many misses and humdrum dishes to justify a check of several hundred dollars. The crab mille-feuille, with its Jenga-like construction, is a fun party trick, and the meuniere-style crudo is as inoffensive as it gets, but the foie gras-accented duck tortellini is oddly mealy, and the $75 lobster cannelloni topped with caviar is definitive proof that market price and deliciousness have zero correlation.

Even when disillusioned with lobster and caviar, you can still have a very pleasant evening here. The cocktails are excellent, the portions are generous, and the dining room, with its elegant curtains and flickering lamps, feels grand and melodramatic. Is that, plus a spoonful of golden osetra, everything you want out of life? If so, have at it. The roast chicken here is similar to what you'll find at any other restaurant, just a bit pricier, and served with a little more panache.

Food Rundown

Table Bread

On second thought, we take back every uncomplimentary thing we’ve ever said about Café Carmellini. Their table bread is incredible, and incredibly free. You’ll receive a small sourdough loaf that pulls apart into rolls, in addition to some thin, cheesy breadsticks the length of your arm.
A plate of shrimp over a white bean purée.

photo credit: Café Carmellini

Shrimp Colonnata

After you consume your free bread and politely request seconds, try these lardo-topped shrimp served over a silky white bean puree. The flavors are deep, concentrated, and citrusy.

Cannelloni of Lobster & Golden Osetra

Stunt food in formalwear, this lobster cannelloni is a tragic figure, constructed of ingredients that fine dining restaurants often use to convince you that you’re having a luxurious experience. There’s too much salt. There’s too much butter. There’s too much caviar, which feels like a very confusing thing to say.

Duck-Duck-Duck Tortellini

The name of this dish refers to the duck inside of the tortellini, the duck jus in the bottom of the dish, and the foie gras foam on top. As expected, it does get monotonous, but, as long as the duck inside isn’t overcooked, you’ll enjoy every bite.
A server removing the lid to a metal platter of roast chicken.

photo credit: Café Carmellini

Gran Sasso Chicken

A safe, reliable option. The roast chicken isn’t especially groundbreaking, but it does arrive as two separate dishes, one after the other. First, you’ll get breast with a red pepper sauce, followed by slow-cooked dark meat with pancetta and potatoes.
A plate of squab and foie gras wrapped in puff pastry, with a huckleberry sauce drizzled on the side.

photo credit: Café Carmellini

Squab en Croute

Café Carmellini likes to overdo it with expensive ingredients. With the cannelloni, it was caviar. Here, it's foie gras. As soon as you cut into your pastry-wrapped squab, foie gras comes gushing out. It's overwhelming, although the sweet huckleberry sauce does provide some balance.


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