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Discovering Simplicity at Scarpetta

June 6, 2012

I don’t need to look at the calendar to know that it has been a while since I posted anything (since May 8th to be precise!).  And boy do I have a back log of delicious food adventurous to share!

To start off the catching up process, a recent weeknight dinner at Scarpetta with MP.  Even though I have lived close by Scarpetta for the past two years and have heard about Scott Conant’s amazing spaghetti since I moved to New York, this was my first time dining at the restaurant.  The quiet and relaxed atmosphere on a weekday night made it the perfect place to catch up over delicious food.

Right off the bat, we were both enamored with the bread basket.  How could one not be?  Two slices of a stromboli like bread, laced with basil, cheese and salami, were piping hot.  Each salty bite more satisfying than the previous.  In addition, a trio of dips and spreads helped bring the rest of the bread basket to life.  A smear of the eggplant caponata and a dab of citrus infused olive oil, I was almost ready to cancel the appetizers.

I am glad though I thought twice about cancelling the next course.  A cheesy plate of creamy polenta topped with a medley of truffled mushrooms table side had both of us wanting more.  This might not have been the most exciting dish texture wise but all the flavors hit just the right note in my mouth.

In comparison, the crispy soft shell crab was a slight let down.  Beautiful to look at and definitely not one note on the texture front, this dish lacked a certain brightness.  Perhaps it could have used more of a freshness from the asparagus or a sharper garlic flavor or even a hit of citrus.

Moving on as we put the slight bump in the road behind us and looked forward to our entrees.  The spaghetti was of course on our list.  This was a dish that Scarpetta is known for and I can now say, it lived up to all the hype.  The description was simple enough, tomato and basil.  But what is neglected to mention was just how perfectly balanced all the components are and how wonderfully flagrant the dish was the second the waiter lifted the porcelain dome. A gentle tug at the al dente spaghetti drew just the right amount of sweet and savory sauce twirled in between each strand.  This might look small but it was quite a bowl full of pasta.

Our second choice, the black tagliolini was not overshadowed the least bit next to the signature dish of Scarpetta.  Tender ribbons of squid ink infused pasta was tossed in a medley of seafood.  I dug in and happily discovered plump mussels, clams, tender rock shrimp and even sea urchin!  The flavor reminded me of what I love about the sea and the basil bread crumbs on top brought it down to earth a little bit.  This was so addictingly delicious that I almost forgot about the spaghetti!

No dessert for us after these two generously portioned pastas and appetizers.  This was a perfectly satisfying meal for a weekday night, or any other night of the week for that matter.  Sure you might cry foul at the price they charge for a bowl of simple spaghetti but that just means more for me!

Scarpetta | 355 West 14th Street  New York, NY 10014 | http://www.scottconant.com/restaurants/scarpetta/new-york

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