Complimenti Al Cuoca: Carmine’s Italian Restaurant & Pizzeria

Sunday evening was movie night with my folks while Jerry, my husband, was out of town. A Netflix DVD arrived earlier in the week and had been sitting on top of the TV patiently waiting to be viewed. Italian food is one of my family’s favorites, and we all agreed on take-out from Carmine’s Italian Restaurant & Pizzeria on Jonestown Road. The restaurant used to be called Francesco’s Italian Restaurant and Pizzeria and is now named after owner, Carmine Farina, a native of Naples, Italy.

Several items tempted me like the Veal Saltimbocaa Alla Romana, Butternut Squash Ravioli, and Carmine’s Salad. In the end, I chose the Spaghetti Carbonara. Dad debated between the spaghetti with meatballs and the lasagna. Mom stayed with her tried and true favorite, the traditional Stromboli. I phoned in the order, and they said it would be ready in 20 minutes. I headed out to the restaurant knowing I would be a little early, so I could pick up printed take-out menus for lunch and dinner. The menu is posted on their website but it’s easier to use paper menus when several folks are ordering.

Traditional Stromboli with marinara sauce

Traditional Stromboli with marinara sauce

While waiting for our order, I noticed homemade gelato was listed on their chalkboard. That’s definitely a good reason to come back and dine in. From the lobby, I could see booth seating in the main dining area that looked comfortable and casual. The hostess read through my order before ringing up my ticket to confirm everything was correct. One of the waiters offered to carry the food to my car when it was brought out. When I arrived home and unpacked the food, it was still piping hot.

Mom’s large Traditional Stromboli ($15) was stuffed with generous amounts of pepperoni, ham, and mozzarella cheese. A regular portion would have been plenty, but I asked for the large so she would have some for lunch the next day. The Stromboli warms up great in the oven. The crusty pocket of fresh baked bread brushed with herbs had loads of filling and came with a chunky, fresh tasting, and slightly sweet marinara sauce for dipping. It did not disappoint.

Spaghetti with meatballs

Spaghetti with meatballs

The spaghetti ($13) that Dad ordered was covered with a meat sauce, mozzarella cheese and several meatballs. You can pick the type of pasta you want from several choices like spaghetti, linguini, fettuccini, angel hair, farfalle, penne, or whole grain spaghetti. The pasta was tender but not overcooked. Dad commented on the richness and heartiness of the sauce as well as how fantastic the meatballs were. The pasta dishes come with your choice of soup or salad. Dad enjoyed the lentil soup with vegetables. The other soup of the day was Chicken Wing, which intrigued me but I was in the mood for a side salad.

My Spaghetti Carbonara ($13) was tossed in a scrumptious sauce with bacon, egg and a bit of sautéed onion. The bacon and parmesan cheese added just the right amount of saltiness to the dish. It looks like a simple dish to prepare when you read the short list of ingredients in a cookbook, but many other places I have tried didn’t get it right. Carmine’s was prepared the way it should be, flavorful with quality ingredients. My side salad had iceburg lettuce, tomato, cucumber, green olives and red onion. The only minor issue of the night was that they gave me Ranch, and I had asked for blue cheese dressing. The pasta dishes also came with a piece of bread that was browned on the outside and soft on the inside.

Spaghetti Carbonara

Spaghetti Carbonara

We splurged on a Sicilian Supreme pizza ($21.50). I don’t cook and when my husband is away, I rely on leftovers. I was being sure that I wouldn’t go hungry! The Sicilian was a thick crust pizza topped with pepperoni, sausage, bacon, hamburger, green peppers, onions and mushrooms. The thick crust was browned and crunchy on the bottom with a chewy-tender inside. There were plenty of toppings and cheese. The saltiness from the meats and cheeses complimented the vegetables, which you could easily tell were fresh. The large pizza was cut into 9 squares. We each gobbled up a piece that night while it was hot.

Our total bill was $65.65. I look forward to returning to Carmine’s.

Sicilian Supreme pizza

Sicilian Supreme pizza

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