Carmelina's: Homestyle Italian-American al Fresco
Since 2012, Carmelina's has been cooking up their own fun and modern twists on classic Italian dishes. Here, Chef DiPaola shares his own interpretation on old family recipes with a focus on fresh pasta and seafood.
In the summer, the front walls are retracted to allow for open-air dining. In the quaint neighborhood of Little Italy, Carmelina's radiates with an alluring energy. Inside, the decor is simple and welcoming. On the other hand, the service was a little bit cold and uninviting, which was unfortunate. But, who knows! Maybe our waitress was having a bad day.
The menu is a lot of fun. For appetizers, consider the "Exploding" Little Neck Clams, which are stuffed with garlic, cherry tomatoes, and hot chili [$16 USD]. The bulk of the menu consists of a wide variety of pastas and a serious selection of meat/fish. Don't forget to pair your meal with an affordable bottle of wine, which are all priced at $30-$35 each. Just based on sheer value, Carmelina's is a very practical and effortless option to satisfy anyone's pasta craving.
Overall, I'd definitely come back to Carmelina's. Maybe next time I will visit for dinner!
My own order was the Crazy Alfredo. The Fettuccine pasta was cooked perfectly al dente. It came with Chicken, Sausage, Sweet Roasted Red Peppers, and a Spicy Alfredo Sauce. The level of heat/spice was just right. I also had a very generous portion of chicken and sausage.
No lie, I was quite full after this plate. If I had a hip Italian grandma, I would imagine that she would make something like this for me. [$18 USD]
Carmelina's Penne Capricciose was pretty damn good. That cream sauce was delightful. In the pasta, we found Spinach, Roasted Red Peppers, Roasted Garlic, and Tomatoes. I could order this dish over and over again. [$18 USD]
The Baked 4 Mushroom Rigatoni came with Roasted Garlic, Sage, Smoked Mozzarella, and Sicilian Breadcrumbs. This dish was hearty, cheesy, and savory. It's really hard to get sick of this dish. The pasta was cooked well throughout and did not have any overly dry pieces. The cheese was adequate and melted. [$18 USD]
This is Carmelina's Sunday Macaroni with Meatballs, Sulmona Sausage, Beef Rib, Savory Tomato Sauce, and Whipped Ricotta - basically a meat-lover's paradise. The ricotta was such a treat. Ricotta is an Italian Whey Cheese made by coagulating the proteins left over from the production of cheese. [$29 USD]
To share, we got the Calamari Salad with Olives, Garlic, Lemon, and Giardiniera (pickled vegetables). The calamari arrived lukewarm for some reason, which is weird because we were one of the first customers of the day.
The portion was quite generous though. It was moderately crispy. And, the flavor was good. [$12 USD]
Above, you'll see their Spaghetti with Little Neck Clams in White Wine Sauce. Here, we had good flavor and a substantial serving of clams. The pasta seemed a bit too wet though. [$24 USD]