The spicy rigatoni at Carbone is one of those bucket list restaurant dishes. It’s the cheapest thing on the menu, but it is probably the most instagrammed item they have. That said, it’s still $26 and there’s not even any meat in it. But I’ve found a loophole: the rigatoni fra diavolo at Parm. You see, Parm and Carbone have the same owners. And fra diavolo means spicy. Do you see where I’m going here? It’s the SAME dish! Now, I’m not 100% sure, but the pictures of both pastas look virtually identical, and the one I just tried at Parm was phenomenal, so I’m thinking I may not have to go to Carbone at all.
After my meal at Parm, Carbone is outta sight, outta mind. The calamari was exceptional with large tender rings of squid that were fried alongside spicy peppers. The homemade mozz was salty and made better by sitting in its own mozzarella juices. I found the shoestring zucchini fries to be a bit superfluous, but I did like how they reminded me of walking the streets of Little Italy during the San Gennaro fest. I didn’t try the baked ziti or the sandwiches, but they both looked great, and I have my eye on a meatball parm sandwich in the very near future. Finally, I know salad is not your first thought at a red sauce Italian joint, but if you do happen to want something on the healthier side, the Greek farro salad seemed to actually grow larger with every bite eaten.You definitely get your money’s worth of this $12 salad.
Parm may be the more casual (think: Italian diner) little sister to Carbone, but I myself am a little sister and some say I’m even better than the original.