I drive by Carmine's every day so I've been curious for quite some time. I was quite happy when we finally decided to give the place a try. We live nearby and the only way into the driveway was going south on Bothell Way. There is a curb along the parking lot, just be aware when trying to pull into the driveway. It's not well lit either and maybe if the pole sign is installed this won't be such an issue. My husband was afraid someone might drive over the barrier, so you’ve been warned.
We were seated immediately; it was around 5PM on a Sunday evening so there were only a few diners in the place. The decor is very nice, clean and a bit elegant. There is a small bar to the left as you come in the door. The staff is courteous and attentive.
We didn't have appetizers, but the selection seemed interesting that we may try some on our next visit. The menu was simple and straightforward and each steak item was unique, with different seasonings. Dinner items come with salad, vegetables and choice of potatoes.
We were served warm, toasted bread with herb butter reminiscent of the kraeuterbutter that is served on steaks in Europe. (It was quite yummy!)
We shared a bottle of 14 Hands Merlot and the wine tasted exactly as described on the wine list. I was a little surprised that our server didn't pour a taste of the wine. I always thought this was done so the diner could confirm that the wine hadn't corked. My husband on the other hand feels this is pretentious.
He ordered the Top Port Sirloin and I ordered the New York with Shrimp. We both ordered blue cheese dressing on our salads and the au gratin potatoes. The salad was very tasty with just enough onion to not overpower and the flavors were well thought out. The dressing was mixed with the salad, but I actually preferred this because it didn't seem heavy.
Our steaks were perfect! The plates were hot and remained so throughout the meal. (Don't you hate it when your steak gets cold because the plate isn't hot?) The presentation was very nice. The vegetables were zucchini and roasted red bell peppers, Jim thought the peppers could use a little more roasting, but he liked them just the same. The potatoes au gratin we're not sliced, but chopped potatoes. The flavor was nice, but I expected the cheese on au gratin potatoes to be browned a bit and these were not. The portions of the sides were not overwhelming which I liked because we were there to eat steak.
I can't comment personally on my husband's steak, but he cleaned his plate. My only criticism on the steak and shrimp is that the chef went a little crazy with the coarse pepper and salt. The shrimp was seasoned with rosemary and I couldn't taste it over the other seasoning. This is hard to do with rosemary. Still we did enjoy ourselves.
We opted for dessert, crème brûlée for me, Scotch for hubby. The selection of scotches was limited to three, he's a big Macallan fan, but it wasn't an option. However he liked the mild scotch that he had. Sorry, I can’t recall the name. The crème brûlée was delicious and the texture was so creamy. Loved it!
You can drop some cash here, but the prices seem within reason. Bottle of wine, two steak dinners, one dessert and one scotch came to around $100. The atmosphere is nice, oh and I forgot to mention, we were serenaded by Bing Crosby throughout most of the meal. If you don’t mind Bing and want to go out for a nice steak dinner I’d recommend Carmine’s.