Saturday, April 18, 2009

Review: Scarpetta

I've had Scarpetta on my list for a while now, and then I came across Time Out New York's 10 best things to eat in NYC (# 6 is Scarpetta's foie gras ravioli), and I knew I couldn't wait any longer.

I claimed the first reservation I could get on OpenTable, 5:30pm on a Wednesday. Who eats dinner that early? But I was desperate to try the ravioli before it disappeared from the menu.

From the moment we entered, the friendly staff at Scapetta made us feel very welcome.

We were seated in the main dining area which is flooded with gorgeous natural light from a ceiling of skylights.

My favorite little detail - all the mirrors in the restaurant were strapped in by leather belts (no worries - a wardrobe malfunction won't let them come crashing down on you, they're also secured by bolts.)

A bread basket arrived filled with stromboli (Kris' favorite), foccacia, and ciabatta, served with a mascarpone butter, eggplant caponata, and EVOO.

While stuffing our faces with bread, Kris and I began our "negotiations" about which appetizers to order; he wanted something heavier, like the creamy polenta or the short ribs, and I wanted something light (after a miserable day of rain and wind, the sun had come out and it finally felt like Spring).

Kris finally went with the braised short ribs with vegetable & farro risotto:

He loved it - simple flavors, meat was fall apart tender, and perfectly cooked farro.

And for me, the raw yellowtail with olio di zenzero and baked sea salt:

Slices of buttery fish, perfect amount of bitterness from the sprouts, a bit of acid from pickled red onion, crunchy Hawaiian sea salt added interesting texture and brought out the flavor of the yellowtail. This was also Kris' first time EVER eating raw fish. And guess what - he actually liked it.

For our entrees, we both wanted the foie gras ravioli, but ordering 2 of same dish would have been a crime with all the excellent choices available on Scott Conant's menu. So I unselfishly let my hubby get the the Duck and Foie Gras Ravioli with marsala reduction:

Kris let me steal a few raviolis - heavenly pillows of perfection, each bite so rich and flavorful, just melted in our mouths. And the marsala/duck jus reduction added an almost beefy flavor, which complemented the raviolis perfectly.

My "runner-up" choice was the black maccheroni with mixed seafood, sea urchin, and breadcrumbs:

Mmmm...more sea urchin, please! Luxurious pieces of sea urchin were lightly folded into the pasta, providing a lovely flavor of the ocean with every bite. The rest of the seafood (calamari, mussels, clams, shrimp) were all perfectly cooked and simply seasoned with a mild spiciness. The black maccheroni had a great homemade chewy texture. Truly memorable!

We were actually pretty full at this point, but Kris rarely leaves without ordering dessert. It was a struggle, but I managed to convince my chocoholic husband to order a non-chocolate dessert this time around, the olive oil cake with mascarpone cream, citrus salad, and tangerine sorbet:

Divine. Flavors came together really nicely, complemented by a balsamic reduction drizzled artfully on the side. The tangerine sorbet was cradled in a delicious sesame tuile - the sesame was a unexpected surprise but perhaps my favorite part of the dessert.

The cost of this wonderful meal: $100 (2 appetizers, 2 pastas, 1 dessert, 2 non-alcoholic drinks, before tax and tip). Well worth it! And the service was fantastic, our friendly waiter obviously gave us great suggestions about the menu!

The Verdict: Best meal we've had this year (so far)

355 W 14th St
New York, NY 10014
(212) 691-0555



Heavenly Housewife said...

Wow how fabulous, what a beautiful restaurant. I have to admit, I have never eaten raw fish either. One thing I do know about however, is a yummy bread basket, and that one looked awesome. Your hubby is right, you should never skip on desert. Us girls need our vitamins! Glad to see you enjoying yourself after your last not so sucessfull restaurant.

Justin Schwartz said...

Scarpetta was one of the best meals I had last year too -- I went right after they opened. If you liked that, I'd highly recommend Convivio up in Tudor City. They have a $59 4-course price fixe option. If you don't mind going uptown, you'll probably love it. It's a very romantic spot too, if that's of interest.

Jenn said...

Those dishes look to die for!!!! I have a friend up there right now. maybe I can persuade him to give it a try.

Christine aka Mistress of Cakes said...

ok...alright...I'll give it to you..this just looks too darn good. I wanted to let you know that I posted the tag today!

KennyT said...

What a fancy meal to die for!!!

Phyllis and Kris, you guys eat so well, hahahaha!

Anonymous said...

Looks like a fabulous meal! I want to try some of those foie gras ravioli!

Mira said...

hadoi.. u describe every thing so detail till my mouth waterssssss.. huhu.. wow! seriously loving the dishes.. fantabulous!

Teanna said...

Mmmm Scarpetta is top on my list of places to try!!! Thanks for the review!

Shannon (The Daily Balance) said...

BEAUTIFUL restaurant!!!

that bread basket looks delish! yumyumyum

I'm going to NYC in June and might just have to make a stop at this place! Thanks for sharing! ;)

Tangled Noodle said...

I was hooked with the bread basket and absolutely faint with delight by the time you mentioned the olive oil cake! I must go to Scarpetta - it sounds like an incredible dining experience. Thanks for sharing a great evening!

Pearl said...

when i visit/move to nyc, i'm adding scarpetta to my list :)

Jessica said...

Phyllis Scarpetta looks incredible! I've been wanting to try it for a while too. Now I really need to go!!! It looks beautiful.