Saturday, January 8, 2011

Carmines on Nassau, Bahamas.

The pilot I was flying with made the reservation and I didn't think twice when he said it was at an Italian restaurant called, "Carmines."  Never put two and two together, didn't remember the place in NYC I ate at about 6 weeks ago. Oh well, another culinary adventure.

I'm getting slightly impressed when he tells me he called the place and asked about vegan options.  There is hope in the world.  While he's not yet ready to say ok to a vegan meal in a vegan place, (not that there is such an iteration on this island), he's recognizing and looking out for my needs and of that I'm appreciative.  I give him the choice of places but he covers my bases.  The downside is that he's sort of picking my meal for me and I'm resigned to the fact that in most non veg places, most of the time, most meals are going to be just that, vegetables.  I've had worse in better, (not this meal specifically ... I'm just saying, you know?)

We drove to Atlantis and there's the building with the archway between the two sides just like you see on TeeVee.  Golllllllleeeeey!  To me it's just another really nice casino in a really nice setting with really nice Madison Avenue stores.  As we got to Carmines and stepped in the door I realized we were at a family style restaurants.  That means the food is served on platters the size of roasting pans.  It's ok if you're going to order my food and share, (yay!), but not ok if you're going to order stuff I don't want and we each have to order family sized dinners.  Not OK for a lot of reasons, least of all the price.  But ... he was adamant and I lamented the fact there was a Johnny Rockets next door which I'm reasonably certain offers a boca burger.  (Not sure if it was vegan but I still thought it a better choice for us right then and there).

The hostess heard my plight and said she'd send out the chef.  I'm impressed already.  I explained what I wanted and she offered two suggestions, one the portobello salad and the other the Giardiniera.  The chef said, as the bread was put down, I should only have the sourdough bread as the others had cheese in them. (Well, it looked like sourdough to me.)

Starving.  Forgot.  The.  Picture.  First.
This was the most garlicy olive oil I've ever had.  It had a good dose of parsley and oregano too and with a bit, (ok, a bit more than a bit), of crushed red peppers I was scarfing it down.

I had a glass of Montepulciano D’Abruzzo and I'm no wine expert but for 7 bucks it was dry but not too and went down very nicely with the bread and rest of the meal.

My Portobello salad had 3 medium portobello caps sliced almost all the way through and they were cooked but not seared.  The were laid on a fresh bed of spinach and tossed in a balsamic vinaigrette.

Those specks are crushed dried oregano.  I know, me too.  But they weren't bacon after all.
The chef came to the table with the server to make sure everything was ok. She actually stopped by about 5 times to check in on me and when the entree was put down she said it usually came with a cream sauce but had omitted that as well as the prosciutto.  The dish was one of the best tomato sauced based dishes I've had in a while.  It was thick but not pasty, rich and flavorful without being overwhelmed by any particular flavor and hearty.  I actually talked about the type of pasta to get with the waiter and he agreed that with this kind of rich thick sauce a penne or rigatoni would be best.  This is rigatoni.

If those were normal knives and forks it would look like just a big plate of food.  Those are about 12 inche long serving utensils and the dish weighed about 8 pounds. 
The dish had onions, zucchini, peas, broccoli, mushrooms, tomatoes and fresh basil leaves.  The chef also mentioned specifically that all the pasta was egg free.  Or she mentioned that she had a gluten free pasta for me because all the others DID have eggs.  In either case I told her to cook what didn't have egg.  She chuckled and said she would.  The only tiny negative was the broccoli stalks were a big long for the florets and had a bit of toughness to them and had to be cut with a knife.  Not a big issue at all.

The prices here, no surprise, are almost double the NYC prices, at least according to the online menu and dinner with one glass of wine and no dessert, (chef said all were a no-no for me as if I might have had any room at all), with extra $3 added to the automatic 15% tip everywhere seems to add here totaled $82.35.  Even though I have a fridge in my room, (at an out of pocket cost to me of $10/night), and took home almost a full order of food ... well, enough for 2 meals easily), it's not a pilots meal out.  It's a fantastic meal out for a bunch of vegans on this island.  The attention to detail and concern for my dietary requirements was outstanding and a benchmark for other establishments.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Very cool. Thanks for writing!