Carmine’s | New York Magazine | The Thousand Best

Can a 1992 restaurant be classic New York? This satellite location, which has become a hub in its own right, uses the same formula that’s kept its Upper West Side sibling cooking on all burners. It’s a roaring success, with a high-spirited old-time atmosphere, mammoth portions that demand to be shared, and uncomplicated Southern Italian cooking that delights the palate and fills the belly. The main dining room has beige walls, wood paneling, and antique-style brass chandeliers. A blood-red leather banquette and large tables accommodate large, rollicking parties. Numerous black-and-white photos of Italian-Americans are joined by larger-than-life paintings of Fiorello LaGuardia, Enrico Caruso, and even Jimmy Durante. Best, Carmine’s cooking is primal and adept. Shrimp scampi is a veritable school of plump crustaceans dusted with bread crumbs and broiled with scads of butter, garlic, and clam juice. Ravioli are formidable rectangular pasta pillows puffed up with creamy ricotta cheese and doused with ragù. This place reminds you that red sauce, garlic, and good times will never go out of style.