We dined at Scarpetta last night for the first time (I am vegetarian, husband is not; Scarpetta has a dedicated vegetarian menu which was a draw). The meal was very good. We had an early reservation - 5:30 - and several tables were already filled when we were seated. Initially we were seated up against the wooden wall at the edge of the serving station. We asked to be moved and were moved right away. Our waiter was friendly and professional. He made recommendations upon request. We didn't order wine with our meal, so I can't really comment on selection. We just each ordered a cocktail.
I thought there was a tasting menu, but didn't see anything on the menu indicating as much (perhaps I just missed something?) and the waiter didn't mention it. We ordered the burrata (me) and mushrooms/polenta (husband) appetizers, split the famous spaghetti, I had the beet and ricotta pasta and husband had the black cod. We were too full for dessert. I blame the fantastic bread basket.
Much has been written about the bread basket. I concur with the accolades. That eggplant tomato spread was absolutely delicious. The flavors were so concentrated. Really amazing. I also enjoyed the mascarpone butter. Didn't try the olive oil because I was so smitten with the eggplant, but my husband enjoyed it. He said it tasted almost citrusy.
I thought the spaghetti was perfectly cooked. The sauce was rich and almost creamy tasting. My husband said he prefers my sauce, which was adorable. Really, though, I would order this again. Of course most people won't care about this, but I despise tomato seeds in my sauce. This sauce was mostly seedless, but there were a few here and there. It was good enough that I would hazard the seeds on a future visit.
The burrata, somewhat oddly, was a different dish than described on the menu. The burrata appetizer on the menu listed charred figs and balsamic. The dish received included neither, and instead had a beet puree and dressed greens along with the cheese. I actually thought maybe the figs were within the greens and that perhaps the beet was balsamic, but no. This was kind of unexpected, especially since I ordered the dish because I thought the charred figs and balsamic would be great complements for the burrata. I would probably have ordered the veggie version of the polenta if I realized it would be a different dish. In any event, the beets puree was sweet and tasty, and the greens were well dressed with a nice (non balsamic) vinegar-y balance. Husband loved the polenta with mushrooms. Smelled heavenly.
I was actually pretty full by the time my main pasta arrived. The poppy seeds were a perfect touch. Very buttery and tasty. The beet flavor was strong (I love beets), although I was only able to specifically taste the smoked ricotta here and there. A few bites included slightly undercooked pasta (definitely not al dente), but this was really good nonetheless and I would order it again. Husband really enjoyed the black cod and said it was his favorite item of the meal.
The manager made constant rounds around the dining room. It was kind of distracting - so much so that the table next to us stopped her to ask about her rounds. In any event, she and the waiters did seem interested that diners were enjoying themselves. By the time we left it was hopping. Definitely a nice dinner. We made it out for less than $200, too, which seemed like a bargain. I would highly recommend for anyone, but especially for the vegetarians out there. I always think a veggie menu is a nice touch.
355 West 14th Street, New York, NY 10014