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Nathan

Scarpetta

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opening night was last night. this place kind of snuck up on us a bit...taking over the old Gin Lane/Village Idiot space.

Dining room was full. the long bar remained full (mostly with diners) the entire time though I was able to secure a seat after a few minutes. there are also a number of walk-in (I assume) tables in the front bar area...these were never full.

wine by the glass list had some interesting selections, along with others that looked pretty familiar.

ordered the Conant trademarked tuna "susci", the calamarata pasta with sea urchin and tagliatelle with lamb and peas.

the bread service showed a semi-deft touch...accompaniments included olive oil, a too cold butter and good caponata...the latter is a great idea.

the susci was quite good....albeit it probably stood out more a few years ago....a lot of dishes kind of like this on NY menus now. the calamarata was very good. really, really liked this dish. tagliatelle was good...though not with quite as many layers of flavor as some of its competitors elsewhere.

the only real sour note was the guy living upstairs who was standing next to me and being incredibly obnoxious (despite the best efforts of his friend)...I think he was completely hammered (hope he was...shudder to think if that was sober behavior).

the kitchen had fallen behind of course (opening night) but the offered drink on the house was exactly the right thing to do. the front of the house in general seemed very efficient and friendly. impressive for opening night.

prices? not cheap but not at all out of line with its genre competition around town...by today's NY standard.

crowd seemed to be pretty much entirely from the city.

which, of course, leads to the big "but".....it's in the MPD. this could be a really good restaurant...Conant can cook. but in the MPD restaurants inevitably decline as they stop caring. now one difference is that this is his main (or even sole) gig now. you would think that would keep the kitchen in line. but what about the FOH? we'll see. I certainly wish them well....as I live within a couple blocks I would love to have it so.

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which, of course, leads to the big "but".....it's in the MPD.  this could be a really good restaurant...Conant can cook.  but in the MPD restaurants inevitably decline as they stop caring.  now one difference is that this is his main (or even sole) gig now.  you would think that would keep the kitchen in line.  but what about the FOH?  we'll see.  I certainly wish them well....as I live within a couple blocks I would love to have it so.

or at least until the reviewers have weighed in.

there needs to be the equivalent of CLE for restaurants. lawyers will know what I'm referring to. :wink:

I'll put it on my "to-do" list.

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crowd seemed to be pretty much entirely from the city.

Not only was it probably only from the city but it was most probably individuals connected with the Conant or people who pay incredible attention to openings and industry news as this one has really gone almost completely under the radar.

Shame Gin Lane bombed. It was a great looking space.

For that matter shame The Village Idiot shuttered too.

The entire idea of that establishment in the MPD was hilarious.

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So I decided to grab a resy before Bruni's review came out yesterday...have a 10:30 for tonight. Thought I'd bump this post back up to see if you've been back since and if so, any dishes that are standing out now that weren't there in May? Agree/Disagree with Bruni's menu suggestions? Thanks!


Edited by ASchepsman (log)

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So I decided to grab a resy before Bruni's review came out yesterday...have a 10:30 for tonight.  Thought I'd bump this post back up to see if you've been back since and if so, any dishes that are standing out now that weren't there in May?  Agree/Disagree with Bruni's menu suggestions?  Thanks!

Was there about a week ago and had snacks/apps outside. The creamy polenta was great, much like at L'impero. The tuna "susci" was also very nice. The duck/foie ravioli were very good...just enough foie for richness, but didn't overwhelm the duck. I can see how it might vary from day to day, though. The scallop carpaccio was pleasant, but not overly memorable.

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Dined at the bar last night. Had no trouble getting seats before 7, but by the time we left, around 9, the front/bar area was completely packed. That room was designed well, with ample space to stand, and with tables in front for walkins.

LOVED the spaghetti pomodoro - almost ridiculously simple, highlighting the sweet goodness of tomatoes. Also enjoyed the agnolotti, stuffed with meat, cheese, truffles and mushrooms - full of umami and flavor. The black cod was fantastic as well - perfectly cooked, served with slow roasted tomatoes and caramelized fennel. I loved the preparation - hearty and complex but still appropriate for August. A lot of the menu was enticing but some of it seemed a bit too heavy for summer months.

Had a cocktail called the T - Ramazotti amaro, citrus/simple, and prosecco. Actually, had two. Delicious and refreshing.

Service at the bar was excellent - attentive and friendly, and the bartenders were extremely knowledgeable about the menu. (I find this to be becoming more of the rule lately, and it greatly improves the quality of my experience.)

Will definitely be back.

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We ate there (for the first time) this past Sunday. It was 10:45 pm when we arrived, and the dining room was nearly full.

To start, we both opted for the "DUCK AND FOIE GRAS RAVIOLI with a marsala reduction":

gallery_11181_6420_26561.jpg

and to follow we both opted for the "PANCETTA-WRAPPED VEAL LOIN with glazed sweetbreads, turnips & butternut squash puree":

gallery_11181_6420_82452.jpg

It's very unusual for us to have so few courses, but we had had a large, late lunch at Bar Boulud that included some very substantial sweetbreads as well, and a pasta with generous shavings of black truffle, and we were not in gluttonous moods, though we were hungry.

The ravioli were excellent (though there was very little foie gras taste), and so was the veal loin. But there was something hard to put my finger on... the food, while very delicious, was a bit too "studied"; it was as if it deserved top marks for technical execution, but left something to be desired in the "culinary excitement" department. Both dishes tasted a bit more of "rote" than of "spontaneity" (a quality that can exist in a dish that you've made many times before). I'm not trying to fault the food - I'll go so far as to call it excellent, but there wasn't a much "soul" in the food, and it's not place that we're dying to go back to.


Overheard at the Zabar’s prepared food counter in the 1970’s:

Woman (noticing a large bowl of cut fruit): “How much is the fruit salad?”

Counterman: “Three-ninety-eight a pound.”

Woman (incredulous, and loud): “THREE-NINETY EIGHT A POUND ????”

Counterman: “Who’s going to sit and cut fruit all day, lady… YOU?”

Newly updated: my online food photo extravaganza; cook-in/eat-out and photos from the 70's

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Where are those glazed sweetbreads on the pork dish hiding?

They're in there. mostly hiding under the veal. They were actually tiny little sweetbread "nuggets" that surprised you, but they worked rather nicely. (That actually may be one in the very front of the plate, dead center.) Not what I expected, but as I say, it worked.


Overheard at the Zabar’s prepared food counter in the 1970’s:

Woman (noticing a large bowl of cut fruit): “How much is the fruit salad?”

Counterman: “Three-ninety-eight a pound.”

Woman (incredulous, and loud): “THREE-NINETY EIGHT A POUND ????”

Counterman: “Who’s going to sit and cut fruit all day, lady… YOU?”

Newly updated: my online food photo extravaganza; cook-in/eat-out and photos from the 70's

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Those are fantastic pictures!

I had the duck and foie gras ravioli on my first visit to scarpetta, they were really good, but I also found many were lacking foie gras flavor. It seems as though some contained only duck.


Mike

The Dairy Show

Special Edition 3-In The Kitchen at Momofuku Milk Bar

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I had the duck/foie gras ravioli at L’Impero when Conant was Chef there. They were great, and had a good deal of foie taste, as I recall. And if that's the case, I wonder why it's no longer true at Scarpetta.


Michael aka "Pan

 

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we also ate at scarpetta for the first time last sunday 1/18 and had an amazing meal and excellent service. The wild mushroom polenta and scallop tartare were spot on and delicious. I was amazed at the huge portion size as well especially given the great price of ~$15

I agree the duck&foie ravs didn't have that much foie flavor but I think this is good considering the amount of raviolis we were given. Don't get me wrong, I love foie, but I think that much would be far too rich and become unenjoyable halfway through the dish. There must have been 25 ravioli on the plate. The cavatelli with the rabbit was also spot on.

the walnut torte with chestnut mousse and blackberry sorbet was also delicious.

I was extrememly impressed with all aspects of this restaurant and rank it among one of my 5 favorite meals in the city......at least this year. Definitely look forward to a return visit.

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The wild mushroom polenta and scallop tartare were spot on and delicious.  I was amazed at the huge portion size as well especially given the great price of ~$15

...

the walnut torte with chestnut mousse and blackberry sorbet was also delicious.

Those both sound delicious. Was the polenta served warm or cold?

I was extrememly impressed with all aspects of this restaurant and rank it among one of my 5 favorite meals in the city......at least this year.

So, what you really mean to say is this was one of your 5 favorite meals you've had in NYC in 22 days?


“Watermelon - it’s a good fruit. You eat, you drink, you wash your face.”

Italian tenor Enrico Caruso (1873-1921)

ulteriorepicure.com

My flickr account

ulteriorepicure@gmail.com

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we also ate at scarpetta for the first time last sunday 1/18 and had an amazing meal and excellent service.  The wild mushroom polenta and scallop tartare were spot on and delicious.  I was amazed at the huge portion size as well especially given the great price of ~$15

Disregard my question above. I see from the Scarpetta website that the risotto and the scallop tartare are two separate dishes. That clears up my confusion.


“Watermelon - it’s a good fruit. You eat, you drink, you wash your face.”

Italian tenor Enrico Caruso (1873-1921)

ulteriorepicure.com

My flickr account

ulteriorepicure@gmail.com

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Thanks for pointing out the fact that I have yet to realize its 2009 :) I actually mean I found our meal at scarpetta to be one of my top 5 meals in NYC in the last 7-8 months since moving here....and I think I've been making some good progress eating around the city's top spots i.e. KO, per se, etc.

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Hi, everyone! I took a friend out for dinner at Scarpetta yesterday and am just posted a review at Open Table, so I'll copy it here, with some additional text:

All dishes were good and these were great (I'm listing these and the following dishes essentially in order of pure deliciousness, but the first two are really a pick-'em): Duck/Foie Gras ravioli w/Marsala reduction; Polenta fricassee of truffed mushrooms (awesome texture on the perfectly combined cheese and polenta, and great mushroom and truffle taste); Coconut Panna Cotta w/fantastic guava soup & caramelized pineapple; Short Rib Agnolotti w/hazelnuts, brown butter & horseradish (what a fabulous combination!). All had strong tastes w/subtler ones in a delicious balance. Braised Short Ribs of Beef w/vegetables & farro risotto were about as good as a dish of its type could be: reminiscent of my mother's long-cooked beef stews, but w/totally tender strips of beef braised in wine & perfect vegetables along with the "farrotto." Rhubarb tart w/pineapple gelato & Muscat gelee - not enough rhubarb but otherwise excellent. (I almost couldn't taste the small amount of rhubarb at all - too much sugar, but great pineapple taste and a great little tart.) Black cod - not as good, somewhat fishy, not for everyone. Good, fair-priced wines (we had the Rose on the menu for our first quartino, then a good red wine whose name I regret I have forgotten for our second), terrific service!

Overall, my friend loved the service and food more than I did and felt it was among the best meals he had ever had, or at any rate that the duck/foie gras ravioli was among the best pasta dish he had ever had. However, I really do agree with him that the service was excellent. From beginning to end, everyone was very professional, helpful, and welcoming. And as for the food, I'd rate it a solid 3 stars on my personal 4-star rating scale - a fair value at just under $200 even plus tip in New York prices. Plus, this is a restaurant that takes its interior decorating seriously, and it shows and was very much enjoyed by us, as were the presentations of the dishes - including some, like the fritto misto, that we didn't eat but saw being delivered to other tables.

This dinner was a special occasion - a celebration of one of my best friend's Ph.D. dissertation defense - and the restaurant came through admirably.


Michael aka "Pan

 

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I can't believe I forgot my main dish:

Sicilian Spiced Duck Breast w/preserved orange & root vegetables - an excellent variation on Canard a l'Orange. It was delicious.


Michael aka "Pan

 

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