Our NRT gathering for August was at Carlo’s Cucina Italiana in Allston. We arrived at 7pm for our reservations (which they take for large parties) to find out that there was no record of the reservation and ended up waiting about 35 minutes for a table. Though the hostess was very apologetic this wasn’t a great start to the evening. It is a small space seating about 50 people. The décor is very simple and non-descript. Since we had plenty of time to analyze the menu before we sat down we were ready to order. We were also very hungry so we skipped the appetizers and just went for the entrees.
We each ordered one entrée which was too much food. The portions were huge! We easily could have shared. I ordered the Rigatoni Alla Rachele which had eggplant, chicken parmigiana, meatball, and sausage in a plum tomato sauce. It was tasty but not great. Honestly, there were just too many different flavors and textures in the dish. Everything was covered with cheese and sauce so it was difficult to separate the different components in the dish. The dish at the table which got rave reviews was the Vitello alla Carlo which is veal stuffed with artichoke hearts, prosciutto and fontina cheese in a plum tomato sauce with onions and mushrooms. The one who had this dish thoroughly enjoyed the combination of flavors and in particular loved the sauce which was created in this dish. The overall consensus by the group was that the food was good but not great. The portion sizes were huge, almost overwhelming.
The service was straightforward, no frills. Overall, the food was good and the restaurant itself had a nice neighborhood feel and pleasant atmosphere. However, none of the dishes stood out enough to merit a return trip for me given that I live closer to much better options for Italian food.
Carlo’s Cucina Italiana
131 Brighton Avenue
Allston, MA 02134