My husband and I ate at Scarpetta at the end of July as part of a long weekend of visiting Manhattan. We were there on a Thursday night at about 9:30 pm after flying in from Chicago.
After checking to make sure that the signature spaghetti dish would be included, we decided to have the chef's tasting menu to enjoy several of their old and new favorites. We were seated near the back of the main dining room, which gave us a nice view of the entire restaurant. We did find that it was a little warm in the room, perhaps because it was quite a full house when we arrived. It is also pretty dark, which was fine except for the fact that my forty something eyes aren't as good as they used to be so looking through the menu is challenging. Even our waiter was chuckling about it with us and holding our candle up to help.
The bread basket arrived and I had heard that you shouldn't miss the stromboli and I must say I wasn't disappointed. It was like a little meal all by itself and it was probably a good thing there was only one slice for each of us since there was plenty more food in store for us.
Our first course was two different crudos: yellowtail with Hawaiian sea salt and a tuna roll with carrot and truffle. Also, a fritto misto to share. I'm not the type to head out in search of sushi, but both of these were were a nice way to start. The sea salt really enhanced the yellowtail and the mix of ingredients with the tuna also really worked. We also enjoyed the fritto misto--it was not greasy and the breading wasn't overbearing.
For the next course, my husband received the short rib with farro, I got a fish dish and we got creamy polenta with truffled mushroom sauce to share. The short rib and farro were perfectly cooked. I am not usually a polenta fan, but I helped eat every last bit of this polenta dish. I think the texture is what usually gets to me, but this was so creamy and the truffled mushroom sauce was divine. It was so good, that I've forgotten how my fish was prepared and what was served with it (I do know it wasn't the black cod, which I've read is a must try).
Next was the pasta course. I received the duck and foie gras ravioli with a marsala reduction, my husband had a fusilli with rabbit and peas and we had the spaghetti with tomato and basil to share. I expected the spaghetti to be my favorite after all the things I'd read about it (and there had been a gentleman at the bar eating it when I came in). It was quite good and perfectly cooked, but I'd have to say I think the rabbit pasta was better. For me, the ravioli had a little bit of a burnt flavor from the wine reduction, but my husband didn't get that as much as I did. I was glad I'd had the tasting menu so that I got to try all three of these pastas.
For our main savory course, I received a duck dish and my husband received a cabreto with pickled red onion. Because I didn't write the courses down right after dinner, I once again can't tell you about my dish. I remember it tasting fine, but as you can see, it was not what I remembered most (and if you'd told me before I went that the polenta and crudo might be the most memorable items to me, I wouldn't have believed it.)
For desert, I received the more chocolate oriented desert, that was a budino, I believe. The top layer of it was a frozen coffee ice, and I don't like coffee at all, so I traded this away to my husband. In return, I had a cantaloupe soup with melon sorbet that was quite good. The only downfall was that I didn't finish my red wine first and the wine definitely tasted different after the desert (but that was my own fault!)
My husband is in the wine business and he liked the intelligent, slightly ecclectic wine list. We had ordered a little known white wine, but they had sold the last bottle earlier that evening. The sommelier recommended another lesser known wine from Emilio Romagna that paired wonderfully with the food. We also had an obscure red wine from Friuli.
Overall, the service was quite nice; the sommelier very helpful (he sent us an after dinner drink) and the food was good and plentiful for a very reasonable (I thought) $80 per person for the tasting menu. Next time, maybe I'll get some stromboli to go to have for breakfast the next day! :-)
355 West 14th Street, New York, NY 10014