Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Delicious Dining at Scarpetta

Dinner at Scarpetta

After watching Chef/Owner Scott Conant on the show, Chopped, show no mercy when Italian dishes were cooked improperly, I was definitely curious as to what his food was going to be like. Will his exacting standards follow through on his own menu at his newly opened restaurant, Scarpetta, in Beverly Hills?

Dinner at Scarpetta

Our meal definitely started on a high note when they brought out their complimentary bread which were accompanied by an eggplant caponata, mascarpone butter and citrusy olive oil. The bread itself was soft and/or crusty when it needed to be but the absolute treasure in the basket was their stromboli, which had ham and cheese rolled into it.  That stromboli is actually quite rich and filling, so you might want to limit to yourself to just one or two.

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Dinner at Scarpetta
Dinner at Scarpetta

When it came to the appetizers, my party shared three of them.  First up was the Raw Yellowtail which was seasoned with ginger oil and topped with pickled red onion and a pinch of sea salt.  The tender and mild flavors of the fish went well with the slight hint of spice from the ginger oil while the sea salt gave it a nice ocean-y finish.

Dinner at Scarpetta

The second starter was the Braised Short Ribs of Beef on a bed of autumn vegetables and farro risotto. To be honest, I don't remember much about the flavors of this particular dish, but I did remember that the beef was meltingly tender.

Dinner at Scarpetta

Our last appetizer was the Creamy Polenta with a fricassee of truffled mushrooms. I really loved the creamy texture of the polenta and when paired with the earthy flavors of the mushrooms, this was definitely a hit with everyone at the table.

Dinner at Scarpetta

Now on to the pasta dishes and again, we shared 3 of them, starting with Chef Conant's signature dish which was Spaghetti with tomato and basil. After one bite, I could see why he's known for this dish. There was a creamy-silky texture to the sauce that was mouth appealing plus the subtle peppery flavor of the basil was also a perfect complement to the tangy-acidity of the tomatoes.

Dinner at Scarpetta

Even though the Spaghetti was definitely tasty, my favorite pasta dish of the night was actually the Beet and Smoked Ricotta Casonei with pistachio nuts & poppy seeds. I'm a beet lover so as soon as I saw this dish on the menu, it was a must-order. The sweetness of the beets, the smoky cheese and the sweet nuttiness of the pistachios really made my taste buds dance with delight.

Dinner at Scarpetta

The third pasta dish we tried was the Duck and Foie Gras Ravioli with a marsala reduction.  This is the one savory dish that didn't do much for me.  I didn't taste the duck because it was just too overwhelmed by the sweetness of the foie gras and the rich flavors of the marsala sauce.

Dinner at Scarpetta

Our meat entrees consisted of two different ones.  My favorite of the two was the Ash-Spiced Venison Loin with braised radicchio, smoked polenta dumpling and dried cherry reduction.  The venison was cooked perfectly and its strong, distinct flavors went well with the bitterness of the radicchio and the tartness of the dried cherry sauce.

Dinner at Scarpetta

A little less memorable for me was the Aged Sirloin of Beef with roasted baby potatoes, porcini mushrooms and barolo reduction.  Just like the venison, the beef was cooked perfectly, but nothing else really stood out for me.

Dinner at Scarpetta

Someone in my party also ordered the Black Cod with caramelized fennel and concentrated tomatoes. I only had a small taste and not enough to leave an impression, but my friend enjoyed it.

Dinner at Scarpetta

When it came to the savory portion of our meal, almost all of the dishes were stellar.  Unfortunately, when it came to desserts, Scarpetta didn't do as well.  It's not that they were bad.  It's more like they were just okay.  There wasn't anything really mind-blowing about the 4 different ones we tried. First, we sampled the Chocolate and Vanilla Parfait with a hazelnut milkshake and biscbill maherotti. I'm not sure why but the Parfait tasted a little too coffee-like for my liking.

Dinner at Scarpetta

The second dessert we tried was the Pear Crostata which were stuffed forelle pears, brown butter pound cake and honey gelato.  I didn't taste enough honey in the gelato, but I did like the denseness of the cake.

Dinner at Scarpetta

My favorite dessert was the Coconut Panna Cotta with guava soup and caramelized pineapple. I enjoyed the creamy texture of the panna cotta and I could have easily eaten a small bowl of just the guava soup.  The tropical flavors all played nicely together.

Dinner at Scarpetta

Last was the Amaretto Flan with spiced roasted pumpkin and marsala zabaglione gelato.  At our table of five, no one liked that amaretto flan.  In fact, one little bite was enough to put everyone off.  I just couldn't taste the almonds and the flavor was a little bitter, plus the texture was more like jello than what we're used to as flan.  We all did like the gelato and wished we had more of that instead of that flan.

Dinner at Scarpetta

To end, my friends and I really enjoyed dining at Scarpetta.  Not only was the food superb, the service was impeccable.  Our water glasses were always filled.  Dirty dishes were quickly swept away and when we returned the cod dish because it was undercooked, they graciously took it away and fired up a new one. Scarpetta is a restaurant I'd definitely dine at again and would recommend to friends looking for a fine dining Italian restaurant experience.

Scarpetta Beverly Hills
(inside the Montage Hotel)
225 N. Canon Drive
Beverly Hills, CA 90210
310-860-7970
Scarpetta (Montage Beverly Hills) on Urbanspoon
Scarpetta

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5 comments:

Gastronomer said...

I'm so happy to read that you had a solid dinner at Scarpetta. The spaghetti looks picture perfect. I hope to taste it one of these days ;-)

pleasurepalate said...

Hopefully, the dessert options will be better when you go. :)

glutster said...

I tried coming here last night for last minute bday dinner) and they didn't even attempt to seat us :(

I understand that we didn't have a reservation but it was still a respectable time and it was only 2 of us (It was around 8:00).

They got down our number but never called or anything. Oh well, ended up having Bouchon experience for first time (seated us within 5 minutes might I add!)

The food looks amazing, but if they are going to bring their NYC style snobby reservation-only policy than I am not sure I want to try to return.

"Walk-in's" are human beings too! haha.

pleasurepalate said...

Wow, Javier, I'm so surprised that they were so dismissive. I think you should blog about that to give them a kick in the pants. :(

Penny said...

The last time I was in LA to visit my sister we couldn't get in, and after a while we just went to her home and brewed up some coffee on her keurig platinum brewing system.

No joy in LA this time!

Penny