We started out with a small (13") pepperoni pizza as an appetizer. If you claim to be a New York pizzeria, you better deliver, and Carmela's did! The pizza was fabulous, all that I'd expect a NY style pizza to be--cheesy, crisply, nice pepperoni flavor, just wonderful. But we knew we'd be eating more, so we only had two slices. But I will tell you this: it was equally good the next day when reheated in a hot oven on a pizza stone--a great reliving of the original experience. What a fantastic pizza, I'd come back just for that alone!
For his entree, my friend Tommy had the Penne with Grilled Chicken. First off, the chicken itself was awesome, it had a great grilled flavor and was nice and tender. However, there was something missing from the dish. It needed something to make it a bit special, including a bit more salt. I don't think the cook/chef tasted the sauce. The mushrooms were nice, the penne was good, but there was some small element missing. Additionally, the presentation was just a bit plain. The big, wide-rimmed plate first of all needed a bit better cleaning, but it also needed something, like a little dusting of Italian Parsely--that small touch would have made a big difference in the presentation. But the somewhat blandness of the sauce was indeed saved by the awesome flavor of the chicken.
For my entree I had the Penne a la Vodka. Wow. first the only (and minor) bad--again, the plate lacked a good look. Just a bit of cleaning of the plate and a smattering of parsley on the wide white rim would have really set this dish off. However, the flavor was spot-on fantastic. It was really good. I think maybe the proscuitto should have been more finely diced and fried just a tiny bit, but in the flavor department, this dish really rocked. The vodka creame sauce was awesome, maybe the best I've ever had, and I'm not one to give out such compliments freely. This was an amazing dish and I'd urge you to give it a try. It was wonderful.
We really had our fill after this (and had some additional leftovers) but the 2 for $2.20 Canneloni special called our names, so we tried that as well. They were very good. The shell itself was very crispy and crunchy, a nice texture balance to the creamy and very sweet filling. I'm not a huge "sweet" fan but these were very good.
Overall, our experience was very good, and I'd recommend Carmela's to others--it was very good. There were a few mis-steps, though, and our service was one of them. At first, our server Michael was a bit attentive, but as time went on he was more and more absent. A bit more attention to customers is crucial to success. Maybe he was new, but I hope he learns. Also, the plating was a bit sloppy and a bit plain. But overall, with a few seasoning adjustments, the food was spot on--and the pizza simply outstanding. I'd sure go back again!