Carlo's, a Landmark With Specials
Patch Contributor Krystal Morris stops by Carlo's on Route 30 in the Heights to find what this old neighborhood stop has to offer.
If you don't know of Carlo's, you don't know the Heights. The brick and stone facade, the dozens of cars in the parking lot and the blue and pink neon sign are like a local landmark.
If you ever feel lost, turn right at the light after Carlo's on Route 30 and you'll figure it out, at least that's what I do. But for the first time, I didn't use the banquet hall-style building as a landmark. I pulled in for dinner.
I had never been inside before, because when it comes to eating out, I tend to gravitate towards contemporary-looking locations with lots of glass windows. But a Facebook friend suggested I do Carlo's for dinner, so that is exactly what I did.
Inside is dated décor, and the lighting is very low. I'm talking extremely low. But the place is huge, with considerable square footage appropriate for a family function.
The hostess, Erica, met me at the door, with a smile and genuine pleasantry and gave me the option of sitting up front, or in the back with the TV's. Who doesn't want to do dinner with a flat screen TV in the background? I'll take it.
I eat alone often, but I never feel lonely because I take my smartphone with me everywhere I go. I can place an order and continue reading the newspaper online. But I am always cognizant of the level of service, and here I never felt a lack of attention. After Erica left me, Carrie G. wasn't far behind to offer a drink and leave the menu.
The dinner menu at Carlo's has filet mignon and prime beef selections, but the "specials" menu is unbelievable. I missed the buffet, but I could still get all you can eat pasta. No need to look at the full menu or order the stuffed shrimp that Erica highly recommended. Spaghetti with meat sauce and minestrone soup, rather than salad, was the way to go.
I eat seafood and vegetables more frequently than meat, so I was disappointed to learn the minestrone has a beef stock. Not exactly the flavor I was expecting, but I could tell it was made from scratch. It was packed with cabbage and large pieces of potato, more than I would typically find at other restaurants. That somewhat made up for the unexpected flavor, but the spaghetti, I suppose, made up for everything.
It is a glorious mix of tomato sauce and ground beef over angel hair pasta. It really is delicious and tastes like my Aunt Aline's, that she famously makes for family functions. This was great pasta, but there was no way I could participate in the "all you can eat." I was full, but I had the option of ordering unlimited plates of the delicious spaghetti I couldn't wait to return to order, especially at $7.95.
Although I couldn't hear the TV, it really is no longer a problem once you get to dipping your complimentary bread (I would have preferred warm) in the spaghetti sauce.
The only unfortunate thing about my experience at Carlo's was I hadn't stopped by sooner.