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Veal marsala

Hey, how ya doin? We thought we’d go all wise guy on ya in the spirit of this N’Italian- New Yawka joint that pays homage to 20th century New York and has the accents to match. Opened as a sister to the NYC branch, chef Mario Carbone has teamed up with Black Sheep Restaurants (think Motorino, Chôm Chôm and Ho Lee Fook) to bring us a proper Italian-American pasta place to fill our rumbling tums.

Badabing: This place is beautiful. Deep reds, check tiled floors, lamp chandeliers and leather booths, its kinda what Harlan attempted with the Strip House, only done better. Golden oldies playing at volume through the speakers and elegant waiters scurrying around with purpose in swish wine-coloured Zac Posen tuxedos. There is an element of entertainment that goes along with this place and is evident by manager Louie Carbone (Mario’s cousin) with his thick New York accent as he wanders between tables telling anecdotes of the restaurant biz. He’s got charisma and this kind of old school camaraderie is exceptionally rare to find in service in Hong Kong.

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Fuhgeddaboutit: You ain’t getting outta here with a hungry bone in your body. We started with the complimentary garlic bread that we mm’ed over and got our appetites going before the at-your-table-tossed Caesar salad ($168) came to set our taste buds alight. We loved the value and taste of the gargantuan meatballs ($168) and the creamy and spicy vodka rigatoni ($198), the veal Parmesan ($428) was perfectly crispy and the steak juicy and flavourful. There are plenty of other meat options and the charred broccoli provided just enough green to allay too much guilt. The lemon cheesecake is the dessert you should choose if you love a perfectly executed cheesecake, the carrot cake is good but we’d pass on the tiramisu ($108) next time but get the banana flambé just to have it flamed up right in front of our table. As a finale, a stemmed crystal bowl overflowing with mixed nuts and a nutcracker reminded us of dinner parties of the past and brought a nostalgic end to our seriously enjoyable eating. A comprehensive wine list, as well as a menu of period cocktails (Gibsons, Stingers, Mai Tais) completed the dining experience.

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Spicy vodka rigatoni

All right already! We admit it; we loved the food, the theatrics of it all, and we loved Louie.

9/F, LKF Tower, 33 Wyndham Street, Central, 2593 2593 中環雲咸街33號蘭桂坊大廈9樓 Opening Hours: Mon to Sun: 18:00–23:30

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