Behind the Venetian Mask

Carnevale

The menu's carni (meat) section is all beef, and eight of its nine selections are veal. These include saltimbocca, a Roman specialty. They do not include the virtually one and only meat dish for which Venice is renowned, fegato alla Veneziana, probably because few fashionistas alla Americana would believe that a dish of quick-sautéed tender calves liver and slow-sautéed sweet onions could be so delicate and delicious as authentic Venetian fegato is. But the meat dish we tried, lombata Carnevale, which the menu described as a prosciutto- and mozzarella-stuffed veal chop with lemon-mushroom sauce, was worthy. The bone-in veal chop had been flattened for tenderness but not pulverized, as so much pounded veal is; and unlike the thin veal one encounters in restaurants, the chop was reasonably juicy rather than overcooked to dryness. The mystery cheese inside the chop was pungent and overwhelmed the delicate veal and subtle lemon sauce in a way that mild mozzarella would not have.

To finish there's authentic Venetian New York cheesecake, or ... you get the picture. That is not to say that nothing at Carnevale, except the Carnivale masks, is authentically from that part of Italy. Among wines available by the glass is a pinot grigio, a type of light white wine that, while not from Venice proper, is from the Veneto region. It must be noted, though, that in terms of complex nose and taste, a Brancott sauvignon blanc from New Zealand that also is available by the glass (though waiters might not mention it) is more satisfying. Authenticity is not always the answer.

For something authentically Venetian, look for the masks
Steve Satterwhite
For something authentically Venetian, look for the masks

Location Info

Map

Carnavale

607 Lincoln Road
Miami Beach, FL 33139

Category: Restaurant > Italian

Region: South Beach

Details

305-672-3333. Open daily from 11:30 a.m. till midnight (1:00 a.m. on Friday and Saturday).
607 Lincoln Rd, Miami Beach

The bottom line: Carnevale's food is not Venetian but generic Italianesque, and even at that is not among the best of that popular genre in town. Still, if you eat outdoors at one of the restaurant's many mall tables, it's a stylish setting for good partying -- meaning good people-watching, good wine by the glass, and pretty good food served by a very friendly staff. As one dining companion noted, you can get a lot worse food, and a whole lot worse service and attitude, on Lincoln Road.

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