We have lived in the Greater Hartford area for fourteen years, but rarely venture to Franklin Avenue, especially now that D&D moved to Wethersfield. Then Carbone's Prime opened in nearby Rocky Hill -- we have gone there twice and quite liked it. We decided to try Carbone's in Hartford and made a reservation. Parking was not a problem -- they have their own lot and a parking attendant There was a bit of a confusion about the entry, but the attendant pointed out the door. Our reservation was immediately honored. We noticed the booths and asked for one -- apparently you need to specifically request one; we were offered one, but didn't like it; we were perfectly happy, though, with the table at which we were seated. The dining rooms are somewhat dated and formal, but the overall feel was rather elegant. [My husband prefers the more modern feel at Carbone's Prime.] The service was excellent and very, very attentive; there were three wait staff that gave seamless service. I am always impressed when a restaurant provides free refills of soft drinks without asking -- my club soda with lime was always full. We had the fried calamari appetizer, which was quite good (although I like the fried calamari at Fiore's II in Middletown somewhat better); Carbone's calamari includes breaded and fried cherry pepper slices, which were spicy and added a nice kick to the dish. My husband had the bone-in rib eye, which was impressive and tasty; it also came with a vegetable medley hash, which he liked, as well as the marinated cipolini onions. I had linguine with meatballs. The meatballs were the best I've had a restaurant. [I compare these fluffy, tasty and huge meatballs with the leaden, virtually inedible meatballs I had recently at Joey Garlic's in Newington -- what a contrast!] We didn't get dessert, as we had already been to Mozzicato's Italian pastry shop (if you're on Franklin Avenue, drop in at an Italian pastry shop and Mozzicato's is probably the best known of a number of bakeries on the Avenue) before dinner and had cookies and pastries waiting to eat once we got home.The acid test: would I go back? Yes, indeed! In fact, we've already made reservations for late June when the in-laws come into town from California. [Just an aside: Mozzicato's is opening a bakery in Middletown in the near future.] Last note: as we were leaving, the parking lot was full, as was the dining room, and there was a huge white stretch limo in the lot: the driver moved the limo and the parking attendant guided us out of the lot. We took a left out of the lot and were on the Silas Deane within a block, headed south back towards Cromwell.
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