Recognizing and honoring family ties is essential for Luca Onofri, chef and owner of the new Carmine restaurant in Newburyport. And it shows in his moving interpretations of classic Italian dishes, many of which are inspired by those close to him. From light and moist meatballs to hearty and rich bolognese, the Peabody native doesn’t skimp on quality ingredients or scratch-on preparations, tying himself close to how he learned from his uncle, Damien DiPaola, owner of Carmelina’s in the North End. In fact, the name Carmine is a tribute to her uncle’s restaurant and her influence appears all over the menu, starting with the Tuna Arrabiata, which is adapted from a similar dish in Carmelina to great acclaim.

The thick slice of tuna has a hard burn on only one side and sits on top of some mandolin-sliced ​​potato chips, with a piping hot roasted serrano pepper on top. The whole dish comes with a reduction drizzled with black olives and Amarone from Carmine’s impressive by-the-glass program. If the wine has been open for more than two days, it goes to the pot to produce the sweet-salty sauce. The heat in this dish comes mainly from the intense serrano – if you prefer less spice, add tiny slices of it as you savor the fish. Accompany it with a glass of Amarone, the two balance each other beautifully.

Onofri is particular about his compact but growing wine list – he chooses each bottle himself, with an emphasis on Italian classics that strike that tight balance between quality and price.

The chef, whose parents both immigrated to the United States from Italy, was drawn to cooking from an early age, mixing Italian preparations with French influences learned from his father, a French bistro owner . He continues the multigenerational line by bringing his stepson, JD Horne, to the restaurant as sous chef.

With such deep roots in Italy, it’s no wonder Asiago meatballs are delicious – airy, fluffy and super flavorful, they come with a drizzle of fresh, bright tomato sauce to liven it all up. Vegetarians – or really anyone – will enjoy the Eggplant Parm app. The super thin eggplant slices are tender yet delicious, with a very subtle breading that lets the vegetable show through, again lightly dressed with that tomato sauce.

Short Rib Bolognese with Gnocchi

The pasta menu touches on classics, like Cacio e Pepe, and some not-so-classic ones, like Crazy Alfredo – a spicy creamy Alfredo tossed with Soppressata and chicken. All the pasta is handmade by a local family friend, but Onofri doesn’t want to share that secret.

However, he is happy to share the secrets of his intense Angus bolognese sauce, a hearty dish of slow-braised Angus short ribs in a charred tomato sauce, served over gnocchi and balanced with a dollop of ricotta cheese. But you probably can’t imitate it anyway.

Mimmo’s Steak, named after Onfri’s grandfather, is the subject of so many thoughts. A carefully composed dish with a water-aged 16-ounce sirloin in the center, the thick steak is sous vide cooked to the perfect temperature, then seared in a perfect crust and served with broccoli, roast potatoes, crisps with salted garlic, and a large roasted jalapeno, then drizzled with a deeply savory balsamic reduction, again enhanced by open bottles from this wine-by-the-glass program. Although that sounds like a lot, the bitterness of the greens is a perfect complement to the rich meat and sweet glaze.

The cozy restaurant, housed in the former Brine space, is warm and welcoming, with dark wood, exposed brick and a mix of Italian pop and classic Frank Sinatra in the background.

Carmine’s does not currently offer a dessert, partly inspired by the North End tradition of wandering into a patisserie after dinner for one last bite. But while waiting for Modern Pastry on State Street, maybe settle for a Tiramisu martini, one of the house specialties. And raise a toast to Onofri’s family, who clearly raised him well.

5 State Street, Newburyport, 978-255-4660, carminenewburyport.com