Mario Batali’s Carnevino Steakhouse – Central, Hong Kong

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Carnevino10 The Giant Eyes
Five Dollars
Two Forks

Carnevino is Mario Batali’s first steakhouse in Hong Kong. My expectations are already high as the anticipation of eating a big fat juicy steak is making my mouth water. Mario Batali sure knows how to make great Italian food but can his restaurant grill a delicious steak? Well let us find out.

The décor at Carnevino is quite exquisite. Wood trimmings galore but with a very clean feel to it. It’s packed with customers but remains spacious and not overbearing.

As we sit down I immediately dive into the menu. The selection is quite abundant as it is not just for the carnivores but for all types of eaters. They offer a good selection of seafood and side dishes and not just lobster like in most steakhouses.

We order the Geoduck Clam with Lime and Espellete, and the Octopus with Limoncello and Chile to start. As for our main, we order the Dry-Aged Ribeye and the Dry-Aged Fiorentina (which is like a porterhouse), both medium rare.
The giant clams and octopus both are refreshing and delightful. The octopus leaves more of an impression on me, as it is tangy, spicy and sweet.

The main attraction is shown to us like a prized item, and then put to the side to be cut by our waiter. Once those beautiful steaks arrive at our table I notice right away that the steak is more on the blue rare to rare side than medium rare. I had this type of disappoint before, but nonetheless I dive right into the Fiorentina. The meat is soft and somewhat flavorful but I am very disappointed that the meat is lukewarm at best. It feels like the meat was cooked then left outside for a while before being served.

I have to ask the waiter why is this steak rare and why is it just warm? His reply is that the steaks are cooked this way in Carnevino, as he has worked at other steakhouses before he knows what medium rare actually means, which is a cool pink center. However at Carnevino, medium rare is basically…rare. And since the steak is rare, the temperature of the meat is on the cool side.

I think restaurants should define the way they cook their steaks so that veteran steak lovers can adjust to their style. But for me, Medium Rare does not equal to RARE or Blue Rare! I am very disappointed at Carnevino. Although the start of the meal was great, the main attraction, the reason why people like me go there, is a huge disappointment.


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  1. Looks great!