Scampo was a colossal disappointment for us. Yes, yes, I know, it's Valentine's Day and we shouldn't have high expectations. Still, at this price point, it was a huge let-down.
It was my first time going; I was really looking forward to it, based on all the hype. Plus, I live right around the corner from it, so it was high time!
-I thought the space was nice enough, One teen-tiny niggling complaint is that the 2-top tables were arranged parallel-wise (not tilted diagonally), i.e., my DC and I sat far apart from each other instead of on two consecutive sides. Whatevs.
-Yes, I know we're in Boston, and we love our Hockey, but the flat screen playing the Bruins game was too much. How tacky. First, it's Valentine's Day, talk to your date, and go to the bar next door if you want to watch the game.
-We never received the famed breadsticks and fava bean/pine-nut puree that I'd read about. Boo! I didn't think to ask until our meal was well underway. I just hate feeling neglected, though, ya know? Show me some breadstick love.
-Ordered the roti to start ($4 plain, $10 with curry chicken on the side). They brought out with the $10 curry-chicken version, which I promptly sent back: I was not in the mood to be upsold against my will for $6 of chicken. This was supposed to emulate the crispy, light and flaky roti canai, ubiquitous at Malaysian restaurants. What arrived was one huge tasteless, unctuous disc of stale-tasting roti. This stuff was literally dripping in oil. Seriously, like, translucent in oil. I don't know if the oil wasn't hot enough, but the roti soaked it up like a sponge. You shouldn't be tasting the oil itself, but we did, and it wasn't a pleasant taste.
-Pizza with melted stracchino with sausage crumble, potato, and peppers. This was simply OK. The sausage was a tad bland, and couldn't cut through the starchiness of the potato and crust. I guess I haven't been a huge fan of schmancy pizzas lately - maybe I'm just a simple mushroom kinda guy. The crust was nice and light, though.
-Tempura green beans with two dipping sauces. Huge clumsy clumps of green beans, loosely coated in greasy tempura fry batter. Again, so extremely inedibly oily. Also, it only came with one dipping sauce, which was merely a weak aoili. I hate to admit it, but P.F. Chang's has a rendition of tempura green beans with spicy sauce that is amazingly addictive and made this seem nasty.
-Spaghetti bolognese. It was unremarkable. Lots of (pancetta?) bits, and no discernible heady umami liver-y taste that I have been looking for. Sigh. I NEED to get over to Sportello to try their bolognese.
-Spaghetti with cracklins and hot peppers. I know this dish gets frequent raves, but I thought mine was just OK. Greasy and rich, yes, but it's cracklins, so what do you expect. However, the cracklins themselves were tiny chop bits, like little pencil erasers. I had looked up pictures of this dish online beforehand, and they all seemed to come with big lively strips of porky goodness. It tasted better as leftovers the next day.
-Tiramisu, which we got to go, because at that point, we were very disappointed and just wanted to get back. Nice coffee taste, but the lady fingers were soggy dripping and made a normally light dessert, seem heavy like a tres leches cake.
Besides the weird roti upsell, and the breadstick neglect, the service was fine; waitress seemed pleasant.
Sadly, I was very let down considering all the good experiences I've read about Scampo on the board. Considering its price point, I don't think I would want to go back for a re-try. :( Very disappointed with my experience.