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50 Carmine

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50 Carmine

Address: 50 Carmine Street
City: New York, NY
Zip: 10014
Phone: 212-206-9134
Map: Map
Cuisine: Italian
Area: Greenwich Village
Entree Price: >$30


In some ways, 50 Carmine is a less-than-ideal restaurant. The décor is decidedly minimal; the tables are tightly packed; the noise level can be a bit distracting; and unless you own an AmEx card, you will need to take out at least $50 per diner in cash before walking in. And yet, all of these drawbacks are instantly forgiven once you take the first bite of Sara Jenkins' extraordinary food. A local culinary star for the past few years, dashing from restaurant to restaurant, Jenkins seems to have found a happy new home in this unpreposessing West Village spot. Knowing Jenkins' reputation for market-driven specials, we veered off the menu for our appetizers. And we were definitely rewarded! A salad of arugula, spring onions and beets was fresh and vibrant. Far heartier were three magnificent pieces of beautifully spiced roasted veal – served rare – served over warm potato salad and accompanied by slivered apple and celery root. The dish is a superb interplay of taste and texture. Jenkins is equally known for her facility with pasta, from a classic, bechamel-sauced lasagna (big enough for two) to an innovative treatment such as spaghetti in red wine (which didn't thrill the couple next to us) or bucatini with pureed kale and bread crumbs. Combining the best of both worlds were remarkably light homemade gnocchi, barely sauced, served with warm bacon, snap peas, fava beans and just a hint of mint. Equally delicious was perfectly seared duck breast – with just the right amount of fat – set atop crunchy farro and slices of roasted fennel, all swathed in a seductive sauce heady with orange juice and chili peppers. A hint of chili pepper also pervades a first-rate bittersweet chocolate tart slightly accented with lemon. A warm apple crostata was equally pleasing, as was the accompanying ginger gelato. Brava Sara.

Review By: Broan Scott Lipton