Upscale Italian and People Watching at New York City's Scarpetta
LDV Hospitality's Scarpetta, offers classic, upscale Italian food, in an unpretentious, elegant, and exceptionally classy way. The restaurant is very stylish and well designed— I particularly am a huge fan of the indoor skylight that allows natural sunlight to pour in to the dinning room.
Normally I don’t go crazy on the bread baskets at restaurants, but Scarpetta’s is in a league of its own. Along with fresh focaccia sprinkled with flakes of sea salt, comes cheesy, buttery Stromboli, one filled with sausage and the other spinach. It even comes with three options for dipping that includes a whipped mascarpone butter.
Appetizers range from refreshing and summery to more indulgent. The raw yellowtail with pickled red onion is a simple dish that highlights the freshness of the fish. The thin slices of yellowtail with a touch of olio di zenzero (a type of ginger oil), melts in your mouth. The tuna ‘susci’ with marinade vegetables and preserved truffle is likewise buttery in texture. The tuna was nicely rolled up with the vegetables giving it a nice crunch.
The beet salad with shaved vegetables, market greens, and ricotta crema, in a light beet vinaigrette, was delicious. Not to mention it was beautifully plated and looked like a work of art. Other starters include the famed, decadent creamy polenta with a fricassee of truffled mushrooms and braised short ribs with a faro risotto.
Scarpetta is particularly known for its incredible handmade pastas. I’m not one to usually order plain spaghetti, but here the spaghetti tomato and basil is said to be impeccable. Scarpetta takes many traditional Italian dishes to a whole new level, while staying true to their authenticity. Using seasonal ingredients in combination with unbeatable in-house pastas make for satisfying plates of complex flavor.
I highly recommend the short rib and bone marrow agnolotti with garlic chip and horseradish. The little pockets of pasta are filled with intensely flavorful meat, topped with fresh Parmesan. The duck and foie gras ravioli with a marsala reduction is equally indulgent. Both dishes were savory and rich, and I'd definitely order each again.
Though not the most carnivorous mains to be ordered, I didn’t miss having a hunk of meat on my plate at all. Other pastas featured are the black tagliolini with a seafood ragout and pancetta; a tagliatelle with braised oxtail and rapini; a zucchini mezzaluna with squash blossom; and the farfalle with vegetables and goat cheese fonduta.
There are also a variety of seafood mains to choose from such as the black cod with caramelized fennel; branzino with clams and a shellfish brodetto; and the halibut with braised Brussels sprouts. For those looking for red meat, Scarpetta offers a veal tenderloin with sweetbreads and a sirloin of beef with fingerling potatoes and truffled spinach on the menu.
For dessert I am a fan of the coconut panna cotta, which comes with a caramelized pinapple and guava ‘soup’ that is tropical, creamy, and perfectly sweet. For the chocolate lovers they feature a flourless valrhona chocolate cake with butterscotch and caramel gelato. Other options include a limoncello semifreddo with pistachio cake and a mascarpone cheese cake with stone fruit and gelato.
If you're looking for a posh aperitivo spot, Scarpetta has recently debuted daytime hours (3 p.m.- 5 p.m, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday) for the first time in the restaurant's history with a weekend aperitivo hour, which you can also enjoy on its al fresco on its patio. Items offered include crudo trios, fried olives stuffed with homemade sausage, and, of course, a list of tasty rosés and cocktails.
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