Yesterday evening, I was invited onto the District Dish to talk about an upcoming event. This particular episode was being filmed at Carmine’s in Washington, D.C. – a brand new family-style Italian restaurant, known for authentic Italian dishes. Most people (and most likely my cousin first) would ask me what on earth I could eat at a place like that, aside from a salad. Answer: LOTS!
Jill Collins, Carmine’s PR representative, was an amazing hostess who walked me through their special menu – whether you are gluten-free, garlic-free, dairy-free or a vegetarian, they are able to provide you an extensive enough menu that you feel as though you have plenty to choose from. (Those menus cannot be found online but trust me, I’ve seen it!) After reviewing the menu, she chose a gluten-free pasta pomodoro for me to try. She also brought out their signature salad, a “side” of Eggplant Parmesan (could easily feed two), spaghetti with their infamous gigantic meatballs, bread (obviously the latter three being for everyone else). In addition, they had two amazing wines for us to try from their vineyards in Italy: a red – Montepulciano d’abruzzo and a white – Trebbiano d’abruzzo. Truly everything was wonderful and incredibly delicious. But, not only was the food great, so was the atmosphere.
At 20,000 square feet, the restaurant can hold 700+ at any given time. There are no small tables (or dishes) there, as it’s family style, which means if you’re on a date, you might want to consider a double date. With rich woods and black and white family portraits on the walls, you feel like you’ve stepped into an Italian family’s home. But my favorite part – the wine glasses – true, authentic wine glasses. In Italy, it’s not customary to drink wine in stemware at dinner – they use what we would consider small water glasses, something I found to be much more enjoyable, only adding to the experience.
Just when we thought we were done eating, another additional surprise comes out for us to try: (Side note: Come to Carmine’s on an EMPTY stomach and bring friends, especially for this part.) The Titanic. The Titanic is a flourless chocolate cake, covered in 6 scoops of ice cream, a ton of whipped cream, strawberries, almonds, bananas, hot fudge and tube-like cookies (to resemble smokestacks) – in other words, a gigantic banana split. Just like the dinner dishes, it’s meant to feed 4-6 people. There were 6 people at the table and we touched half of it, groaning, moaning and holding our stomachs, while vowing to “work it off” the next day. Yet, there wasn’t one frown at our table.
We all agree that the experience we had at Carmine’s was amazing and that it was worth noting to family and friends. I’d like to thank District Dish, Kate Michael, Jill Collins, Sonya McKay, Bev Kirk and the entire staff at Carmine’s for a wonderful evening!