I Like Big Bars…and I Cannot Lie

From The CockFrom The Bull
Turn Ons:
I like Big Bars
The Food
Overall Atmosphere

Turn Offs:
Wine Recommendations
Pub Chairs (slippery floor)
Window crusted food
Turn Ons:
Big, gorgeous bar
Retail wine shop
Music was so fun and a duo perfection

Turn Offs:
“Special’ dish not so special
Spotty server & sommelier service
Surprised there weren’t more butcher shop offerings on menu
Big bar, red wine, Italian food and live music compliments of Honey & Blue….am I dreaming?

Carfagna’s on Gemini Parkway has been on my to do list for a while. I knew the food would be amazing, because the tradition and reputation has always been stellar. I was not expecting the atmosphere to be so delightful in a repurposed grocery store. We invited Sugar & Spice to join us for this adventure to celebrate Spice’s birthday.

It was retail wine night (every Thursday) so of course I took the opportunity to participate, even though the sommelier didn’t take the opportunity to recommend, or upsell, a new wine even after I asked for a help. I am not a wine snob and usually pick by label and hope the wine is good. I was in an adventurous mood because it was a Thursday out with Bull and I was hoping to find a new favorite red. I went with The Punisher’s Unshackled, a great go to and I recognized the label.

I loved the big bar – great for date night or happy hour with a friend. The cocktail list was prohibition themed, lots of gin based. I was hoping for a bourbon something or other but I decided on the Carfagna’s Negroni for my cocktail. Heavy on the Gin – it really wasn’t my ideal but if you like a Negroni I think you will enjoy the Carfagna’s specialty cocktail.

I like to order simple when trying a new place, even though I have had Carfagna’s food many times. I love tortellini and I knew I could get alfredo & marinara. It was exactly how imagined except you could tell it may have sat in the window a little longer than it should have. Luckily it did not change the flavor.

The music from Honey & Blue was great although the pub chairs were super tall and my 5’3″ stature felt a little unstable while I chair danced to the smooth stylings. The slippery floor/chair combo made my dismount a little unsure.

We were celebrating that night and I love celebrating – I also love bubbles. The retail store closed at 9pm so I made a last minute purchase of some Rose Brut to toast a great summer, a birthday, a baby on board, and this new adventure. The wine shop was able to chill the bottle and served it at the table within minutes to the Ooos and Aaahhs of my dear friends.

Can’t wait to go back and experience all their weekly specials and try out that Big Bar with Bull.
To the meat of the matter…

I’ve always loved Carfagna’s, whether it was slowly walking through the butcher shop or having a $5 bottle of wine in the bar at their café, it was always one of those experiences you savored.

My first impression of the new, combined facility was that it was a huge, simply branded building with a ton of parking and a great little patio out front. Adorbs! Walking in you see the peek a-boo window and entrance to the wine shop (yay!) and a huge, beautiful bar. The restaurant surprisingly has no appeal whatsoever, but that’s ok – seat me in the bar!

After waiting for some time for a server to greet us, I noticed on their marketing screen that Thursday is retail wine night, so bring on the bottle! (and in my case, multiple bottles – but I took a couple home 🙂 The sommelier was the first to greet us (still not sure where the server was – shift change maybe?) and he followed me through the wine shop offering assistance. I just wanted to soak it all in! …I highly recommend getting to their shop. They have wines I haven’t seen in the typical haunts and they are priced reasonably. 

The server we ended up having was absolutely delightful when she was around. They were really busy so I don’t fault her. (Was it the wine? The music? Is this normal?) Both appetizers we ordered were tasty (no fundido though…) And I enjoyed tasting them. True to my nature, I ordered the braised beef ravioli (BEEF!) and was quite honestly disappointed in the taste. Their pasta is typically very good however the texture in this dish was almost gluey, and the beef was fairly flavorless. I added a bunch of salt and that helped – but doesn’t salt help everything?) I’ve not had a bad meal at their café until today – boo.  

Overall, I know Carfagna’s can and will do better with their food, and service is spotty damn near everywhere.  I will be back, and I’ll sit in that big beautiful bar and savor my salad and lasagna. Everything else about it was delightful, including the ‘mature’ lady who kept video-ing the band and having a good ‘ole time…I’m fairly certain that will be me in 20 years. 

Cheers to savoring life!

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