I had been waiting three years to try Scampo so I'm happy to say my expectations were not only met but were exceeded. Had a wonderful evening of great food and fun with my husband, daughter and her boyfriend.
We knew we weren't in Kansas anymore when the first thing our server did was drop a glassful of homemade breadsticks directly onto the table, alongside a creative fava bean and pine nut dip. (Luckily that was on a plate.) Really delicious way to start off.
Keeping in mind the wonderful recommendations from the posters on CH, I ordered the whimsical Elephant Ear Walking for the table, a tasty crisp flatbread covered with tomato sauce, cheese and deep-fried crispy basil.
I also wanted to order Naan, but hubby had a hankering for garlic bread so he ordered that. It tasted rather ordinary, Naan next time.
Chef Lydia Shire was not in the house that night, but fortunately her son Andrew was. He had just returned from a trip to Barcelona and stopped by our table twice. An earnest chef looking to make his culinary mark, he sent us two complimentary dishes. I am not used to such special and gracious attention and service. It made a great meal a great experience.
The first complimentary dish was an appetizer, not on the menu, which Andrew said was inspired from Barcelona. It was a disk of ground steak, fois gras and sausage, served with lemon-dressed greens, balsamic reduction, crisp bread, and some very thin sliced warm pears with red and yellow jelly like things - I don't know what they are called - something like "moutardes??" Both sweet and sour. Can someone take a look at the picture and help me out and tell me what the red and yellow things are? This was my favorite bite of the night. The meats combined beautifully. You could taste them all, yet they melded. I loved the pop from the red and yellow things and pears. I could have had this dish alone for a meal and been very happy. Hope it makes it to the regular menu.
For mains, the group had White Asparagus Ravioli which was light and nicely done. Roast Suckling Pig was moist, flavorful, one of the best preparations I've had outside of a neighborhood pig roast. It came with sweetbread ravioli which even my finicky husband liked. From the Mozzarella Bar I chose Buffalo Mozzarella with tomatoes (it's usually an app, but I ordered one extra piece of cheese to kick it up). I knew I would be nibbling a lot of food, so I kept my entree on the simpler side. The cheese was top notch, smooth and soft. The only meh entree was the Walnut Gnocchi. My daughter found it bland. It also came with sweetbreads which she tried but did not like the texture. Kudos to her though for trying something new.
The second complimentary dish was Spaghetti with Pork Cracklings and Pepper. You folks recommended it and for good reason. Al dente pasta with crunchy cracklings and a wallop of heat from finely diced peppers. As a non-pepper fan I would not have ordinarily ordered it, but I was glad to try something new out of my comfort zone and it was simply delicious.
We were having so much fun we didn't want to leave so even though we were massively stuffed we ordered the cookie platter for dessert - a selection of quality stuff including coconut and almond macaroons and cherry biscotti. Couldn't eat but a nibble and enjoyed the rest back at the hotel.
Scampo has a great sounding cocktail list but daughter wanted a light red wine so we ordered a $50 bottle of Cloudline - a light, fruity Oregonian Pinot Noir. It was good and fit the bill. But I think it is regularly priced at $20 a bottle, if so the mark up was a bit steep. The BF had a glass of dessert Moscat, the first time he has tried anything like that.
Service was gracious, and even though it was a packed and busy Friday night, we felt very welcome.
Overall, Scampo was an exciting way for us to try some new things, dine well, and have a lot of fun.
I will not wait three years to return.
Pictures (cell phone without flash):
1. View of bread from our table. Next time I'd love to sit at the bar at the open kitchen.
2. Breadsticks and Fava Dip.
3. Elephant Ear Walking.
4. Special Barcelona Sausage Appetizer.
5. Asparagus Ravioli.
6. Spaghetti with Cracklings and Pepper.
7. Buffalo Mozzarella.
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