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Earlier this fall, Tim Carman dug into D.C.’s newest family-style Italian places, Carmine’s and Casa Nonna. Now that he’s decamped for The Washington Post, he can compare notes with Post critic Tom Sietsema, who in this weekend’s Post Magazine gave two stars to Casa Nonna, Amy Brandwein’s sleek new restaurant that’s taken the place of California Pizza Kitchen at Connecticut Avenue and N Street NW.
“We’re trying to replicate the good things about having a Sunday dinner at your family’s house,” Brandwein told Tom, who notes that entreés are expected to be shared.
But the Sunday Post Magazine doesn’t stop with the sharing at Italian restaurants! This week’s Date Lab combines three interesting elements: First, it’s one of those rare same-sex dates featured by the Post! Second, a wine-fueled meal at Carmine’s. And the third? Keep reading for the surprise twist…
After talking about an eyebrow piercing at Carmine’s, twentysomething Date Labbers John Cloutier and Jeff Staugler ordered some calamari, but ended up with a salad instead! “It wasn’t a big deal.” (Because sending it back might send off bad vibes of not being easy-going?)
They also had two bottles of wine! Two! On a first date! Cloutier then ordered dessert. “He just ordered it,” Staugler said. “He was a lot more the decider, which was good. I really liked that aspect of him. There wasn’t a lot of flirting at dinner.”
Hmmm, maybe because there was so much to eat? The Post doesn’t dive into many details what all was consumed. Carman wrote about “a squat tower of lasagna, a mammoth slab scaled to the oversized dimensions of the 20,000-square-foot family-style restaurant in Penn Quarter,” if that gives you a picture of what level of food consumption is required of Carmine’s patrons.
In any regard, Carmine’s sort of sounds like a recipe for a worst first-date venue ever, especially if you’re ever concerned about how your date might judge you on the size of your appetite.
But look at where all that wine and food led Cloutier and Staugler: Secrets, the gay strip club! Maybe they needed to dance off a load of family-sized eating?