There's a 1,000-bottle wine cellar in Dallas's Carbone Vino

There's a 1,000-bottle wine cellar in Dallas's Carbone Vino
Courtesy of Carbone Vino‍

Carbone's namesake restaurant next door has been transformed into a hybrid restaurant-wine bar.

The hospitality company Major Food Group is known for opening three restaurants in less than a month, so why not test the limits?

A new multi-pronged endeavor in Dallas appears to be based on that ethos. Major Food Group’s Mario Carbone, Rich Torrisi and Jeff Zalaznick are preparing to open a pizza-and-wine joint near Carbone, located in the city’s Design District, and a few miles from Sadelle's at Highland Park Village, which will blend the familiar with the new. A new restaurant will open on Thursday called Carbone Vino.

In recognition of the Carbone brand's iconic status, let's start with what's familiar: The restaurant's best-known dishes, including rigatoni vodka, parmesan and Caesar alla ZZ, will be available at Carbone Vino.

In spite of its extravagant cellar filled with vintage varietals, Carbone Vino is designed to be more accessible than its next-door neighbor. As well as its spacious 75-seat dining room, the establishment also has a bar designed for dining. Torrisi has been developing thin and square pizza for nearly a year and a half, and the menu will feature many wines offered by the quartino.

Courtesy of Beckley Photography, LLC 

Among the menu items at Carbone Vino is a garlic pie topped with only garlic butter, finely minced garlic, parsley, and Pecorino Romano cheese. The pizza is served with salumi and vegetable antipasti. Carbone says his favorite pizza is a zucchini verde pizza, a margherita pizza, a pepperoni pizza, clam-and-sausage pie and a clam-and-sausage pizza.

According to Carbone, Major Food Group carefully considered texture and temperature when honed these pizzas. It is topped with buffalo mozzarella after it comes out of the oven, so it “sort of melts in the middle but still tastes like Buffalo cheese,” he says. Raw sausage is placed on raw dough for the clam-and-sausage pizza, so it cooks inside. After it's out of the oven, that pizza is topped with clams oreganata: Sliced clams are tossed in breadcrumbs before they're steamed.

Courtesy of Eater Dallas

A large and extravagant wine collection awaits Vino at the restaurant. Nearly 1,000 bottles are available, representing most of Italy's 20 wine regions. Guests are welcome to try off-the-beaten-path wines like negroamaro from Puglia, lagrein from Trentino-Alto Adige, aglianico from Basilicata, and fumin from Val d'Aosta.

There is no surprise that Carbone Vino was inspired by New York's Italian-American cuisine. A couple of dough guys named Chris Bianco and Chad Robertson helped Frank Falcinelli and Frank Castronovo open the Brooklyn slice joint F&F Pizzeria, where Carbone first saw electric deck ovens. The legendary Lucali in Brooklyn, where Mark Iacano served BYO, inspired Vino.

With the creation of a new brand in Texas, Major Food Group is finding new inspiration. Pastry chef Stephanie Prida is looking forward to making butter pecan ice cream with Texas pecans. Carbone will visit Rosewood Ranches, which raises Texas wagyu. For almost a decade, he has been hitting local farmers markets to prepare something that he envisioned at Carbone.

Courtesy of Carbone Vino

Carbone says, “he created a vegetable misto that he called the verdura mista or the vegetable misto. My idea was to display market vegetables six different ways on these giant Deruta hand-painted platters with cup sections. However, it never made it on the menu because the service kicked me ass and it was impossible to do. But I never forgot I wanted it back.”

Carbone Vino has a platter that features six different vegetables prepared six different ways on a section of the menu that includes shareable items like salumi and crudos.

You'll find no Caesar Caesars tossed tableside at Carbone Vino, but you'll find new preparations and polished theatrics from Major Food Group.

It's a beautiful Vino paper on your table, and there's a huge tin of powdered sugar left on it, Carbone says. The zeppoles are brought out and kind of thrown on your table the moment they're done, and then the captain smashes the powdered sugar all over the table. It reminds him of San Gennaro.

It will also feel like guests are part of the action when they eat at the bar.

“There will be some guys slicing salumi behind the bar wearing their little Italian biker hats,” Carbone says. “I want people to dine at the bar.” They are standing among the bartenders who go around the horseshoe-shaped bar. There will be negronis, prosciutto, all the things you desire at Vino. I think there will be just as much energy at Vino as Carbone.

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