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Restaurants & Bars 2

Scampi Trattoria (OC) - recent visit (long)

ginger_sling | Apr 19, 200502:03 AM

After reading and reading I decided to throw in a little recent visit "review" of my own.

The other night my lovely boyfriend took the two of us out to try Scampi Trattoria after it had been recommended to him by a friend. We arrived a little after 8 and found it relatively quiet. There were a few other groups - another couple, two families, and a few people at the bar. A woman sat by the door playing the accordion, which we totally enjoyed because a) we both play music and b) I have a secret love of non-polka accordion music.

Shortly after being seated our server arrived to take our drink order. Now, I've bartended and served food in both bars and restaurants, so I'm very forgiving. But I gotta be honest - if you're serving at a nice restaurant (hey, my lamb was $24), could you take the gum out of your mouth? Or at least learn to hide it better when you talk? This bothered me more than my boyfriend so perhaps I was just being picky.

At any rate, she was nice enough but perhaps not the brightest bulb. We decided to each get a glass of wine rather than our usual bottle, and I mused aloud about which wine to get since I was unfamiliar with many of them. She said/muttered "Well, you usually have red with meat."

I demurely kept my trap shut. This, for me, is kind of an impressive feat.

I mean, I'm still learning about wine and I don't know a lot of wineries/vintages/etc., but I do know enough to understand there are delicate reds and powerful whites. And that such generalizations can miss out on some fabulous nuances when paired with food. However, if I'm wrong on this, please school me. I am eager to learn!

Anyway! Despite the kind of spacey and unprofessional (but admittedly friendly) nature of our server, the rest of the meal was quite lovely. I ordered a nice glass of pinot noir (sorry, I forget which) and it ended up being a nice complement to my meal. Which consisted of...

As an appetizer we ordered the broccoli rabe and sausage. It was a very enjoyable starter, with a good balance of salt and garlic. The sausage slices were the perfect size - thin but still generously portioned. For my entree I had the lamb chops with roasted garlic and rosemary in a balsamic reduction sauce, and I chose the grilled vegetables as a side. I ordered medium rare and the four chops came out medium. I was a little disappointed but decided against sending them back - they were still pink on the inside and the sauce was wonderful. Plus I was hungry, and I can hang with medium in a pinch. My boyfriend chose the housemade ravioli, stuffed with ricotta and white truffle (probably oil, altho we weren't positive), with a parmiggiano sauce. Holy rich dish, Batdiner! We both loved it but neither one of us could have finished it on our own. A much smaller portion would have been a great appetizer.

(As a side note, I did use some bread to wipe his plate clean. I couldn't resist. Jack Spratt, his wife, what's the difference when there's nummy cheesy sauce in front of you?)

For dessert we had passionfruit sorbet. Don't think it was housemade.

For most of the meal, the chef/owner was chatting with other diners who appeared to be regulars - he was bringing them wine to try and so forth. We learned at the end of the meal that Scampi lost its lease and will be closing soon, but the owner is opening a new place a few miles away this summer.

We are going to try and go back one more time before the end of the month. I want another bite of those ravioli, and there were quite a few other dishes I'd like to try.

Let's just hope the server isn't chewing her gum this time.

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