Restaurant Review: Noi Due Carne
We are big fans of Noi Due. You will almost always find some of their pizza in our freezer since I often pick up a couple of pies from there on Thursday evenings for dinner. It’s one of the kosher restaurant we enjoy eating at in NYC. Ok, the fish is a little expensive and the salads are too but I’m just happy there’s a kosher restaurant I can actually eat in in my neighborhood that doesn’t bum me out due to its mediocre food.
Imagine our excitement when we heard a Noi Due Carne was opening next door. We were initially hopeful but the first warning sign that there could be a problem was the menu posted in the window without prices. Was there a reason there were no prices? Was that reason that they were going to be high?
At the end of last summer before my son went back to school we decided to try Noi Due Carne for dinner. My first impression of the restaurant was that it was nicely designed but did have a touch ungapatch. We were seated, given a menu and sure enough we were were surprised by the prices. The prices were actually shocking, especially the prices of the steaks. A 14 ounce USDA Prime Rib eye was $69, a 21 ounce Rib Steak Florentine was $63, a 10 ounce Skillet Roasted Fillet was $49 and a 26 ounce USDA prime Rib eye for two was $129. Since they were not served with sides those prices included an additional $11 for each side dish ordered. Our kids did not want too order the steak for dinner because they though it was too expensive!
Lest you think the kid’s sticker shock was because we never eat out with them I can assure you that that is not the case. They have been going out to dinner with us from the very beginning. Les Marais opened just after Zev was born and the manager used to call him the official baby of Les Marais because we were there so often with him. We used to bring crayons there for the kids to draw on the paper tablecloths there when they were toddlers. We loved Mike's Bistro when it was uptown and one of the reasons we love Israel so much is because we love that there are so many excellent high end kosher restaurants. My kids have eaten in Lumina, Malka, Angelica and 1865 to name a few of the restaurants we have taken them over the years.
This dinner took place over a year ago and I don't remember everything we ordered. I know that some appetizers were ordered and I know that some of the kids reluctantly ordered the steak. I ordered the chicken piccata that was good but ordinary. Over all it was a nice dinner and we would have come back again if not for the sticker shock.
In February it was our anniversary so we decided to try Noi Due Carne again and once again we felt like it was overpriced, merely good and not very exciting. In addition the waitress brought us a bottle of wine with a younger vintage than the one printed on the menu and she was unaware of that when she brought it to the table. I understand that at a certain point the vintage printed on the menu is no longer available but there is a simple fix to that. Change the year on the menu or at the very least have the waitress let your customers know before they order that bottle.
During a conversation my husband recently had with a friend he mentioned that he and his wife enjoyed eating at Noi Due Carne but they had a trick. They ordered mostly appetizers because that was were where the food shined. I filed that away and about a month ago I suggested to my husband that we try the appetizer approach and go Noi Due Carne for dinner.
I met Josh at the restaurant and we decided that we would eat at the bar. We took a look at the menu and decided to order the Spiced Lamb Flatbread $24, the 10 ounce Burger Short-Rib Brisket blend $34, and the Tomato Fennel Soup $14. All of it was really very good. The hamburger was one of the best burgers you can get outside of Israel (thought you can get a better one there for less than half the price) and the Spiced Lambflat bread is actually a good deal relative to the rest of the menu since the portion is so big. In addition to the food we ordered some very good cocktails for $15. These included the West Side a scotch, elderberry, blackberry and lemon cocktail, an Apple Spice Old Fashioned made from spiced whiskey, apple cinnamon and bitters and a Bourbon Coolatta made with coconut milk, pineapple juice, orgeot and house made grenadine. The Bartender John served us our meal and he was friendly and helpful.
It was definitely an enjoyable meal so we came back 2 more times. We sat at the bar both times and were once again served graciously by John. The second time we visited we once again ordered the Spiced Lamb Flatbread (I can’t resist a good deal!) and the delicious Sliced Skirt Salad $42. Drinks were once again the West Side and the Apple Spice Old Fashioned.
For our third meal we ordered the Gazpacho soup special $15 which was very fresh, very good and made with mint, delicious Brisket BBQ sliders on sesame-challah rolls with zucchini pickles $22, tasty Crispy Roman Style Baby Artichokes with a caper aioli $18 and the decent Lamb Ragu Pasta $29 We decided to try a few more of the cocktails and ordered the unique and very flavorful Carried Away cocktail made with Aquavit, red bell, pepper, basil and pineapple juice and and the cocktail special which was a Gin Garden made with gin and a sage and rosemary simple sugar which was excellent.
Discovering the appetizers and the cocktails at Noi Due carne has been a net plus for my husband and I. It’s really nice to be able to sit at a bar and order good food and drinks. It's especially nice to have the opportunity to order cocktails without having to google every ingredient to try and figure out if it is kosher.
We visited the restaurant on two Thursdays and one Wednesday at around 9 PM on all three evenings and all three times the restaurant relatively full. I attribute this to the fact that over all the food and drinks are very good. However A $69 dollar lamb chop special is way to high and the price the steaks without sides are actually ridiculous. There is no way that these high prices don’t ultimately affect their bottom line.