Crème Brûlée (with a dollop of Killers)

by Skip on March 12, 2006

in New York City

I don’t often hear Death Cab for Cutie in a restaurant (or The Postal Service or the Killers for that matter), but that soundtrack fit the Upper West Side Carne well enough. The laid-back and occasionally angsty tunes complimented both the red/orange decor as well as the marinated skirt steak. Carne was Meg and my second stop on the CityShuffle restaurant tour and we left impressed, happy, and full.

After reading about the place on MenuPages we weren’t sure what to expect but the $10 discount bolstered our resolve. The hostess was pleasant and gave us the last window seat, which Meg got really excited about.

Arriving at 6:55, exceptionally early for New York, we were eligable for the prix fixe menu (not listed on MenuPages). In my opinion these one-size-fits-all menues usually suck, but Carne’s had all of the hits. As we are almost on a red-meatless diet, we both opted for steak — Black Angus NY strip for Meg and marinated skirt steak for me with bordelaise sauce on the side.

The mussels meuniere was excellent. The soupy sauce they were floating around in completely rocked (red wine, lemon, cream, herbs were the dominant tastes). Meg’s French onion soup, was good but so large that she got tired of it before finishing. The aforementioned steaks were so worth it, though we both preferred the marinated skirt to the strip. Both came cooked to our preference, though mine was more on the medium-rare end of the medium scale, and were tender and juicy. Meg liked her NY strip well enough, but was disappointed by its bland taste (I agreed).

The crème brûlée was among the best I’ve ever had but the cookies and milk (as I should have expected) were nothing more than ordinary.

We’d certainly go back. The portions were appropriately sized, the high ceilling gave the space a less colostrophobic feel than most restaurants, and the noise level wasn’t overwhelming. The prix fixe menu and half-price wine (bottles) on Tuesday are enough to warrent a return trip.

Price: most entrees $14 to $20
Value: high
Food: very good
Pro: prix fixe menu before 7p.m., half-price wine Tuesdays
Con: got loud when it reached capacity
Bathroom: nothing special

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