Thursday, August 18, 2011

A Rehearsal Dinner Spot with Many Options {Carmine's}

Last week the team took an outing to the Gallery Place area of DC to get the complete scoop on Carmine's, a NYC staple that has planted itself in DC.  While Christine has had clients in both DC and NYC use the institution, it was time the rest of us became familiar with it's versatility.

What we learned, besides the fact that the restaurant boasts 6 plus ample spaces to host private functions, is that special events as we know them in the scheme of Carmine's experience is relatively new.  Enter Kyle Carnegie, long time member of the restaurant and events community in Washington, DC.

As he showed us the spaces, he pointed out how they paid extreme attention to being able to section off spaces and close off the noise of the restaurant to a private event.  Each of their smaller spaces have AV accessibility so you can easily connect photo slideshows.  The main dining room can also be sectioned off into areas to accommodate groups of 100 plus!  Carmine's recently hosted their first wedding and they have a bar mitzvah coming up this fall.

Carmine’s Back Dining Room can be closed off with wood and glass doors for your
dinner for 120 guests and features a fully-stocked private bar.   Picture the room with
the lights turned down a little for your dinner.

So while private functions are something new in their latest location, the food is one thing that is not.  If it ain't broke, don't fix it, is what they say.  Carmine's takes very intense care to make sure their food from location to location is exactly the same in every way.  That is of course why they have such a devout following.  A two hour wait in NYC is completely normal and acceptable.

The menus don't change and are posted on the walls, big for everyone to see.  Their standards for food are high, so when I asked Kyle if they source locally, which is a hot button these days, his response was, as much as possible, but some local items aren't up to our standards and we thus need to source from elsewhere.

Did I mention this is a family style restaurant?  I take for granted I have been to multiple locations at this point.  My favorite dish is the Penne ala Vodka.  On a visit with a few other couples earlier this year, I learned how amazing their garlic bread is.  And last week on our visit I tried two new items (for me) their porterhouse with amazing herbed olive oil and their tugboat dessert.  You won't see the tugboat on their menus, but it's the smaller version of their Titanic, an ice cream sundae atop flourless chocolate cake that can feed an army.  The tugboat fed four of us with leftovers.

This space boasts a working fire place for a really cozy feeling

So, if you haven't yet visited, Carmine's is about to celebrate a year in DC and they sure have gotten their feet wet.  Give Kyle a call or stop in and try them out.  The versatile space is good for parties of 55 to over 200.