by Nick L. on
Been here many times since it's the default campus restaurant amongst friends. Food quality - above average for the price, but it's very typical Tex-Mex. Nothing too exciting on the menu. Service - below average. They don't split checks, period, which baffles me. Ambiance - loud, perpetually full of college students. Upstairs is better than the bar in this respect, unless you're there for sports. As a whole, the place kind of sucks for relaxed conversation. And yes, the Mexican Martinis are good. Nothing really sophisticated, but when you're eating Tex-Mex, it's perfect.
by Deshawn Jewel on
First I have to talk about the dog. Carman's dog appears to be the cutest dog ever, but it becomes quickly apparent why she is chained down and barricaded: if you step just a little too close she snarls and lunges at you. I thought for a moment that I was in a Monty Python movie and that I might need the Holy Hand Grenade just to enter the restaurant. I was a little puzzled why the dog was there in the first place, unless her job is to deter those who aren't that serious about Carman's cooking. Once inside the very small (very. small.) restaurant, you'll be greeted by the friendliest servers on the planet. They'll explain the menu as it is written on a whiteboard, and then point out Carman, who is busy cooking away in the kitchen. They'll bring coffee, water, and ask you for your name. It's a very personal experience and you'll feel right at home, if your home also happens to be filled with heaps of interesting kitch and phallic art. The fact that the owner cooks all of the food is what sets this place apart from any other. It's obvious from the first bite that she puts her heart and soul into her daily specials. Everything is homemade and it shows. The home fries are flavorful, the eggs bright yellow (organic and cage free, anyone?) and toast is served with jams that Carman picks up in North Carolina. Ingredients are top notch. What I didn't like so much is that every dish is a unique combination of several different things. There are no basics here. You can't order just French toast or just bacon, eggs, and home fries. If you're somewhat of a picky eater, you risk coming in and not being able to order anything because Dish 1 has coconut, Dish 2 has peppers, etc. I am a huge fan of basic brunch fare, so I don't know that I would make a repeat visit. Carman's is Cash Only with no ATM in sight, and only open for Breakfast.