Meat lovers, rejoice. The new Carved concept has what you’re looking for: juicy, crisp daily specials hot from the rotisserie oven, served as a plate or on a sandwich with signature sides and soups. Oh, and meatballs, too.
This meaty multi-tasking concept at the University of North Carolina Hospitals was inspired by Angelo Mojica’s visits to the Rosticceria section of Mario Batali’s Eataly, a rotisserie shop in San Francisco and a meatball restaurant in Raleigh.
After the initial inspiration, “we started to experiment,” says Mojica, director of dining and nutrition at the 830-bed hospital, which does about $11 million in sales. The success can at least in some part be attributed to Mojica’s perfectionism.
“When we were working on the porchetta (a fatty, stuffed boneless Italian pork roast), I would say, ‘This is good…it’s okay…but we don’t want ‘okay,’ we want the best porchetta ever,” Mojica says.
Along with Executive Chef Shawn Dolan and Associate Director of Retail Ryan Miller, Mojica kept working towards the best rotisserie menu items possible. Dolan created signature rubs for chicken, beef, pork, turkey, even salmon. The team adjusted cooking temperatures and times, using the new rotisserie oven.
Rotisserie is a very old form of cooking, essentially meat on a spit cooked over fire. The rotation of the meat makes for even cooking, self basting and that sought-after crispy exterior.
It all adds up to total meaty succulence on a plate, and the concept is busy. Some of the rotisserie chicken goes to the nearby barbecue concept, and the chickens start roasting at 5 a.m.
“It’s been so popular,” Mojica says, adding that the major kitchen design consideration for Carved was the exhaust hood that goes with the oven.
Sliced on a sandwich with minimal toppings, rotisserie is good eating. And this being North Carolina, a little “meat and three” action happens, too, with the option of getting the meat with some of the specialty side dishes. Customers at Carved can get the plate or sandwich option.
Sides are really special—caramelized Brussels sprouts, creamy mushroom and Parmesan polenta, garlic potato gratin, roasted root vegetables are on regular rotation, along with the highly popular house-made potato chips with signature seasoning. Soups, like clam chowder and chicken noodle, are made from scratch, too.
And here’s where the meatballs come in. They’re also side dish option: one meatball is $1.99 and two meatballs are $3.29. The different meatballs are not ordinary. Billed as “Artisan Meatball of the Day,” meatball varieties include beef with caramelized onion and sherry with a French Dip sauce or turkey and feta meatballs, even a Provecal version with the classic French herbes de Provence.
Looking ahead, Mojica says the future will hold more rotisserie items: “We may need another oven.”