So, where in the heck is Crabtree PA? Near Greensburg. Actually, on Rt 119, inbetween Rts 22 and 30, close to 22. My dad and I went to visit my brother who is in the hospital (he's sick, but getting better); on the way, we passed Carbone's, and Dad said, "If we're going to eat on the way home, there's where we want to do it."
Carbone's, since 1938. That's a long time for a restaurant. Dad knows Carbone's because he used to take Mom there when they were dating, in the late 40s. My mom went to college with Natalie Carbone, and when we walked, in, who did we meet but... Natalie Carbone!
Dad, with Natalie:
See grandma there? Nice lady, huh. Here's a fun fact about Natalie Carbone Mangini: "Co-owner, Natalie Carbone Mangini, was the first woman atomic scientist hired at Westinghouse's Bettis Atomic Power Division. She worked on the Nautilus which was the first atomic submarine."
Very impressive, Mrs Mangini.
Anyhow... this is going to be old Italian, not Mediterranean cuisine. And so we started.
I ordered an appetizer of sauteed hot peppers with Asiago cheese; dang, this was good. It is exactly what it is, nothing more and nothing less; sauteed hot peppers with Asiago cheese. Be prepared. Hot means, HOT. But it's that Italian pepper hot, all up front without the sustain of the Caribbean and Mexican peppers.
I loved this. Absolutely loved it. I ate as much of it as I could (vegetables are good for you!) and had the rest as a filling for my omelet this morning for breakfast.
I ordered the sampler. I like it when I get this option! The sampler is spaghettini, lasagna, one cheese and one meat ravioli, and gnocci... here it is as served, and then tossed up a little to show the food.
Operating from left to right,
The meatball was pretty good, more meat and less egg/bread. The spaghettini was a little bland. The lasagna was excellent, a traditional lasagna of cheese, sauce, and noodles, no meat.
The beef ravioli; man, excellent. iIt was HUGE, I thought it was a second, smaller slice of lasagna under the sauce! (It is behind the lasagna on the plate.) Very tasty! A bit sweet, I'd say this was veal, but that's a guess. The cheese ravioli was equally delicious, Not as tall as the meat rav. The gnoccis were also pretty good, very light and fluffy, not starchy at all (like some can be). The sauce over the gnocci was also different, a marinara rather than a meat sauce; it was satisfyingly sweet and savory. The meat sauce that covered most of the dish is without question mid 20th century; it's that all day simmered Italian sauce that just tastes wonderful! It is not very spicy, but more savory and a little sweet.
Fun Fact #2: "Natalie Mangini Stefanick, co-owner, manager, and chef, graduated from the CIA, the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York."
Aha... Old, but not uninformed. Simple, but not plain. The secret to all good Italian.
Carbone's personality is warm and comforting. It is old, and familiar. It is a line drawn in time, from then to now. And make no mistake about it; that line is overt, and intentional:
Really, you have to love a place like this. Recommended for all travelers on Rt 22 going toward or away from Pittsburgh, to the east.
<message edited by Mosca on Fri, 09/25/09 12:21 PM>