my kitchen, my kitchen
Food Review by Howard Steven Frydman
Restaurant: Carbone’s Kitchen
Location: 6 Wintonbury Mall
5 Stars- Excellent dining
We are going to the “Kitchen” – Carbone’s Kitchen. A kitchen, so familiar, so warm, you may genuinely imagine that you are back home awaiting a favorite comfort food prepared by a cherished family member. Yes, family and your favorite foods, what a superb combination. In this case it’s – “The famous Carbone’s”, restauranteurs renowned throughout New England for their historic culinary expertise and classic dishes that, here in their newest restaurant in Bloomfield, Connecticut, are masterly prepared in the “Kitchen” and harkens back to a time when the world seemed a simpler place and dining out was a true culinary experience.
I freely admit at the very start of this article, I like “Carbone’s Kitchen”, not only for its incredible creative affordable menu but most importantly for its friendly, homey atmosphere. Situated at the Wintonbury Mall for the past two years, “Carbone’s Kitchen” is a part of what some are calling, “The Bloomfield Renaissance”, a dynamic dining destination explosion of several new 5 star restaurants, including Ginza and Republic, that have all recently located to the beautiful hamlet of Bloomfield.
During my Friday evening visit, though temperatures outside are hovering around 5 degrees, I am warmly greeted by Executive Chef Vinnie Carbone, son Vincent, daughter Kathryn and General Manager Mark Giannetta. This is a visually stunning modern eatery. Bathed in a soft glowing luster, “Carbone’s Kitchen” has three main dining areas with a seating capacity of 180. Its main dining room houses a 110 foot bar with stools for 28 patrons plus high top tables that seat an additional 32 customers at the Bar-lounge. The Board Room- a semi-private room can be used for parties and special functions and seats 20. Murals of Carbone founding family members, including Gaetano and Carl, plus vintage photos of the original Carbone’s Restaurant in Hartford can be found on walls throughout. The atmosphere of “Carbone’s Kitchen” offers its patrons a feeling of luxury, comfort and the expectations that truly wonderful offerings from the kitchen are on their way to indulge. In fact, I am led to the ultra private Board Room with its exquisite, reclaimed factory floor dining table – fit for a king, where I now await culinary surprises myself from that famous kitchen we have all heard about.
I am no sooner seated by son Vincent, offered a “Passiontini”-a wonderful elixir of vodka, passion fruit, ginger lime and mint- Yum- when Chef Carbone begins my tasting with the following appetizers; “Cod and Potato Fritters” a light cod cake accompanied with an airy lemon caper aioli and served with arugula and artichoke salad- bright beginnings! It whets my appetite for what’s next in store, a delectable I have met before when I produced a TV program starring Chef Carbone, a so enticing “Grilled Pear Pizza”, graced with Tallegio cheese, prosciutto de Parma and arugula- and adorned with aged balsamic drizzle- divinely delicious.
When at the “Kitchen”- I strongly urge you to sample one of the freshly made pastas- yes in house pastas! Chef Vinnie prepares me one of his specialties- a torrent of newly birthed “Spinach Fettuccine” crowned by stunning u-10, hand picked diver sea scallops, lightly seared and served with butternut squash, wild mushrooms and then teased with Tallegio cream and shaved fennel- a dream of a creation that is quickly acquainted with my awaiting tastebuds. And the piece de resistance – my main entree this evening, prepared especially for me by Chef Vinnie – “Veal Cuccinetto” – a stuffed veal cutlet pocketed with prosciutto, seasoned breadcrumbs, Italian sharp cheese, topped with tender artichokes, and graced with a sherry wine lemon sauce, and served with a foundation of polenta, and spinach. This dish so humble in appearance yet rapturous in taste- a true dining experience and one of the reasons you make your way to the “Kitchen”- a true “Howard’s Menu Best Bet”!
Desserts for the evening are Taylor Made Cakes – by the Carbone family member – Ann Taylor of Farmington, CT. I sample the following: “Frozen Tiramisu Pie” a generous wedge consisting of biscotti crust, cappuccino gelato, Marsala semifreddo and topped with a chocolate Kailua ganache. My favorite is Ann’s Classic New York Style Cheese Cake- thick and decadent- just like you like it!!! Chef Vinnie even prepares me a “doggie bag” to take home- consisting of one of my favorite cookies “Ruggelach” – a delicate pastry made with a cream cheese dough and various fillings such as raisins, walnuts and cinnamon. I am such a Happy Camper!!!
“Carbone’s Kitchen” is a true food find and a wonderful dining experience that you will want to share with your friends over and over again. Chef Vinnie Carbone’s culinary creations are truly classic and memorable. As mentioned- this “Kitchen” is one of my favorites eateries and after one visit I am sure it will be one of yours as well. Enjoy!
“Carbone’s Kitchen” is located at 6 Wintonbury Mall in Bloomfield Connecticut. Phone: 860-904-2111. Hours: Mon – Thur: 11:30am – 9pm, Fri: 11:30am – 10pm. Sat: 4pm – 10pm, Sun: 3pm – 9pm
Howard Steven Frydman is General Manager and Executive Director of BATV- Channels 5, 95 & 96.
PHOTOS by Harvey Leon Frydman