Carmine's DC: Happy Hour & Lunch Specials

I hate chains. There I said it. I feel like once you start trying to duplicate a great restaurant, you lose what is great about it. Service gets sloppy, decor gets cheesy. So, when I saw that Carmine's, the venerable New York Italian steak joint was opening across the street from the office, I pre-judged.

But, Carmine's you get my first impression rose. On a whim, I popped in to the bar for lunch this afternoon planning on getting a salad. Once thing Carmine's doesn't do is anything in moderation. They have great lunch specials. For $9.00 I got a Eggplant Hero larger than my head and a hefty portion of Caesar salad (you can also get mixed greens.) Bring a friend to split your meal or divide that price by two, because there is no way anyone should be able to finish this in one sitting.
This looks way smaller in the photo than it did on the plate.

Intrigued, I started eavesdropping. My neighbors were raving about their meals, packaging huge to-go cartons and saying they heard Elena Kagan was visiting Carmine's already.

I started chatting up the bartenders (shocking. I wasn't appointed VP of Bartender Relations amongst my friends for nothing) and snagged the happy hour specials for you. They are definitely aiming to bring folks in and expand their happy hour, but here's what they are starting with.... from 4-7pm, you can select from:
  • $4 Peroni drafts
  • $5 Big Berry Cosmo (frozen cosmos... I might have to bring those back even though SATC jumped the shark.)
  • $5 house wines (daily special red and white)
  • $5 specialty cocktails - two per day & one is usually a Champagne cocktail
If you want to graze while you drink away your work day, they will be serving small portions (this is like the Hummer is a small SUV) of fried zucchini and stuffed mushrooms for $4.00 each.

NOTE: Carmines' is also doing Restaurant Week lunch and dinner. Get menus & reservations on OpenTable.com. Definitely come in a group, this is HUGE portions, meant to share as if you were at an Italian wedding.  Carmine's is located at 425 7th Street in between E & F NW. It's close to Penn Quarter/Gallery place and Archives/Navy Memorial metro lines.


Nelle Somerville said...

I love that you stated you hate chains! Me too...but this past weekend MrB and I were in Atlantic City and I was dying for the Palm after the Top Chef episode. There was a Carmine's across from the Palm in the Tropicana. Maybe we should have tried it. The food at the Palm was outstanding. Service=FAIL! I miss 19th St.

Emilee said...

I met your friend Andrea Reagan, she gave me your blog info. I love your blog. And Andrea's great!

Tammy Gordon said...

Nelle - totally with ya. Don't get me wrong, I know my way around Chili's. I just LOVE finding a great non-chain one that's unique.

Emilee - Andrea IS great! Thanks for visiting the blog!

Johnna Knows Good Food said...

Thanks for posting this...Carmine's has nothing on its menu about its lunch specials so I at least know its worth my upcoming visit via your post. The eggplant hero looks delicious!

Johnna Knows Good Food said...

Ok, I stand corrected...just saw the lunch menu on their site lol..but thanks anyhow for posting!