AAfter years of friends from Dallas asking Mario Carbone to bring his celebrity-loved Italian-American concept to our city, the New York chef finally found the perfect opportunity in the Design District, which last week became the first Texas location of its famous restaurant of the same name. And tonight, Dallas gets an extra gift: Carbone’s sister wine bar, aptly named. Carbon Wineopens next door.

The co-founder of Major Food Group (other managing partners are Rich Torrisi and Jeff Zalaznick) sat down with us on Vino’s lovely outdoor terrace to talk about the brand new concept. And although he has now spent five weeks in Dallas overseeing the openings of Carbone and New York brunch paradise Sadelle’s in Highland Park Village, Carbone admits he has yet to find the perfect pair of cowboy boots. . “They will find me,” he jokes.

We speak to chef/co-founder Mario Carbone of Carbone et Vino – opening tonight. (Courtesy of MFG)

A bit of history on Carbone

“I was fascinated by restaurants when I was a child”, says Carbone PaperCity. Growing up in Queens, it seemed like restaurants worked like magic for a young Mario Carbone — the way waiters in tuxedos ordered the table felt like going to the theater. Naturally, he wanted to see what was going on behind closed kitchen doors.

When he was old enough, he found jobs at local restaurants and later graduated from the Culinary Institute of America, then worked at wd~50 and Café Boulud in New York.

When the 90-year-old Rocco Restaurant, one of the classic Italian-American restaurants that dazzled the chef in his youth, announced its closure, he had an idea. Carbone and new food company Major Food Group moved into the Greenwich Village spot in 2013, reviving the once sleepy spot with a Michelin-star-worthy menu of Italian classics and a design that evoked the heyday of fine dining. mid-century Italian-American cuisine. – with vintage-style tuxedos designed by Zac Posen.

Carbone has since expanded to Las Vegas, Hong Kong, Miami (in 2021) and now Dallas, which officially opened on March 31.

Carbon Wine
Conceived by Ken Fulk, Carbone Vino’s design was inspired by favorite restaurants and hotels in northern Italy.

Carbone Vino makes its Dallas debut

While Carbone’s roots are undoubtedly in New York, Dallas will host a brand new concept for the Italian-American classic: Carbone Vino.

In the end, it came down to the reasoning that everything is bigger in Texas. When Major Food Group landed on the Design District space a few years ago, they also inherited two kitchens (those of Headington Company’s Wheelhouse and Sassetta, which operated as separate but linked restaurants).

“We loved the location in the Design District, but it didn’t feel right to split Carbone into two different parts,” says Carbone. So they took the opportunity to create a whole new space.

Carbone Vino offers a fresh dinner menu and showcases Italian wine craftsmanship, with bottles dating back to the 1980s. “We had to build relationships to get our hands on some of them,” adds leader.

Quartino wine

Housing more than 1,000 bottles of wine, according to Carbone, Vino will also offer diners the unique option of ordering by the glass, bottle or quartino – the last of which is a carafe containing a glass of wine. and half a portion.

“The quartino allows customers to taste different wines,” says Carbone.

Carbon Wine
Carbone Vino opens tonight in the Design District. (Photo by Douglas Friedman)

The Carbon Look

Both spaces were designed by Ken Fulk, the essential of the Major Food Group. “Ken visits a space and immediately has an idea,” says Carbone. “We start over in each new city. We want each location to be its own thing.

For Vino, the team drew inspiration from favorite restaurants and hotels in northern Italy. There is a strong royal feel to it. Elaborate chandeliers, medicine cabinets, and gold-trimmed mirrors make up the decor. Chef Carbone’s favorite design elements include late 1800s oil paintings on the walls of Vino, and at Carbone, black and white photographs taken by William Klein in Rome in the late 1950s .

Inspired by the great wine restaurants of Italy, the space is lavish to match the level of wine that is offered.

Carbon Wine
Carbone Vino will offer square thin-crust pizzas.

The food menu

You will still find a few Carbone classics at Vino, including the veal parmesan, the Caesar alla ZZ, and the famous spicy vodka rigatoni. Everything else was created specifically for Vino, allowing Chef Carbone to experiment a bit. You’ll find a few platters for the table, including Italian salumi, vegetable, and seafood crudo options, as well as cuts of Florentine beef and a whole steamed lobster.

But most important are the square thin crust pizzas. Expect five options, including one of Mario Carbone’s favourites: clam pie and Italian sausage.

“I grew up eating Sicilian pizza, and it’s like one slice and you’re full,” the chef shares. “It’ll be light and crisp so you can sit back and have a few bits.”

Carbon Wine
Don’t miss the Zeppole from pastry chef Stéphanie Prida at Carbone Vino.

Reception without appointment

Another difference at Carbone Vino is that, unlike Carbone only by reservation, you can enter directly. (Although you also have the option of reserving a table on Resy). But one thing that Carbone and Carbone Vino have in common is their emphasis on showmanship.

“It’s the closest restaurant comparison to theater,” says Carbone. “It’s a play.”

When asked if he would consider opening more restaurants in Texas in the future, Carbone remains mysterious. “I have to find my perfect pair of cowboy boots first.”

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