Anyone in tune with the New York food scene will know Mario Carbone. He’s one third of the Major Food Group, the creative culinary force behind some of NYC’s best new restaurants. As a born-and-bred New Yorker from an Italian family, he is one of the city’s strongest proponents of reviving the old style of New York–Italian cooking that thrived in the 1950s.
Mario’s eponymous restaurant opened in NYC in 2013 to rave reviews, and after a fortuitous meeting and dogged determination on the part of local restaurant group, Black Sheep Restaurants, Hong Kong received its very own version of the famed restaurant just two years later.
Carbone in Hong Kong sticks close to the original, with everything from the captain’s costumes to the art on the walls combining to recreate that nostalgia and charm that the restaurant is known for.
While Mario drops in every so often, Chef de Cuisine Michael Fox, leads the ship at the Hong Kong restaurant. Michael brings with him 15 years of experience training at restaurants in England and Australia, including Shannon Bennett’s renowned Sydney restaurant, Vue de Monde.
At Carbone, Michael sticks true to the classic New York–Italian recipes that have catapulted the restaurant to fame. Presentation is key, but you’ll find no delicate garnishes here – it’s all about approachable food with generous portions designed for sharing.
Dinner starts with a basket overflowing with warm chunks of garlic bread, paired with salami and blocks of parmesan on the side. From there, guests can dig into a Caprese salad made with fresh heirloom tomatoes and creamy burrata, or carpaccio Piemontese, featuring thinly sliced beef doused in olive oil and black truffle.
The Caesar alla ZZ is prepared tableside with a touch of theatrical showmanship the captain whisks together the creamy Caesar dressing a la minute and tosses it with crisp romaine, freshly grated parmesan and crunchy, buttery croutons.
As for the rich and hearty pasta, there’s something for everyone. Choose from the meaty tortellini ragu, the homemade lobster ravioli and the spicy rigatoni vodka – a Carbone signature with a luxurious creamy sauce made with spicy Calabrian chillies.
Proteins are just as hearty, including a whole grilled branzino with lemon, veal marsala with roasted mushrooms, and a ribeye Diana with pancetta and a zesty cacciatore sauce – all of which pair wonderfully with a bottle of red wine from Carbone’s vast selection of more than 1,200 labels.
From the throwback maroon tuxedos worn by the captains, to the well curated playlist, every detail at Carbone has been carefully considered to evoke the spirit of old-time New York. The ambience is nostalgic yet seamlessly blends sophisticated modern elements, from Tiffany lamps adorning the tables to handcrafted Italian ceramic plates and eye-catching artwork curated by Vito Schnabel.
The goal at Carbone is to bring power back to the diners: you can choose desserts from wheeled trolleys, make special requests for dishes, and watch as the food is prepared in front of your eyes. This flexibility and spirit of generosity is what sets Carbone apart, ensuring a memorable and personalised experience for guests from start to finish.