Scott Conant & Scarpetta hit another homerun!

This evening, my wife and I went back to Chef Scott Conant‘s restaurant Scarpetta on West 14th Street in NYC.  I have been wishing for his signature dish of house made Spaghetti with Tomato & Basil.  We hit a lot of traffic as we made our way to the Port Imperial Ferry in Weehawken.  We arrived a few minutes after our 6 pm reservation and had just missed Chef Conant. 

I have to be honest, we had another phenomenal meal.  Even though we missed Chef Conant, he was still a gracious host and had the kitchen send us an appetizer of Raw Yellowtail with Olio di Zenzero & Flaked Sea Salt as his compliments.  I love raw fish.  And this dish exemplified amazing tasting raw fish.  The fish was so fresh.  It melted in my mouth.  I love Chef Conant’s use of salt.  Salt really accentuates the flavor of any dish.  

Raw Yellowtail with Olio di Zenzero & Flaked Sea Salt (Compliments of Chef Scott Conant)

We also had the Burrata with Heirloom Tomatoes & Baby Greens, which we had on our last visit.  And our third appetizer was the Raw Fluke with Artichokes & Preserved Lemon.  Again the raw fish was fresh and clean.  I loved the addition of the artichokes.  They have a bit of bite to the otherwise soft fish.

Burrata with Heirloom Tomatoes & Baby Greens

Raw Fluke with Artichokes & Preserved Lemon

I, of course, had a pasta course.  And I bet you can guess what I had.  That’s right the Spaghetti with Tomato and Basil.  This dish is heaven in a bowl.  I can’t say enough about it.  The sauce is so bright tasting.  It is not acidic at all.  There is a subtle hint of garlic and red pepper mixed in with the basil and the fresh tomatoes.  And what can I say about the spaghetti?  How can you describe perfection?  You can’t!  This is one dish you must try!  There is no two ways about it.  If you go to Scarpetta for one dish let this be it. 

Spaghetti with Tomato & Basil aka Heaven in a Bowl

My wife had the Duck & Foie Gras Ravioli with Marsala Reduction.  I loved the Marsala reduction on this dish.  It was sweet and tart.  And those ravioli, Mamma mia, the filling was creamy and smooth.  The foie gras was subtle and did not overpower the duck flavor of the ravioli.  I will definitely consider choosing this dish for my pasta course on our next visit.

Duck & Foie Gras Ravioli with Marsala Reduction

Being a pork lover, I chose the Pork Tenderloin with Spaetzle and Pork Belly.  The tenderloin was exactly that…tender.  I didn’t even need a knife.  The tenderloin was a beautiful hue of pink.  Don’t let pink pork scare you, especially when you’re eating it at reputable places.  The pork belly was also quite tasty!  It was fatty in a very good way.  There is nothing like a good pork belly.  I was also pleasantly surprised by the spaetzle.  I loved the addition of the corn and carrots to it.  This was great choice for dinner. 

Pork Tenderloin with Spaetzle and Pork Belly

Our desserts were also spot on.  My wife had the Coconut Panna Cotta with Guava Soup & Caramelized Pineapple.  While I had the Chocolate Cake with Burnt Orange-Caramel Gelato & Espresso Sauce.  My wife’s dessert was fruity and sweet.  I enjoyed the guava soup.  This was a really nice touch to the creamy panna cotta. 

Coconut Panna Cotta with Guava Soup & Caramelized Pineapple

My dessert was a chocolate lover’s dream come true.  The burnt orange-caramel gelato was an interesting touch to this dish that I really loved.  It paired perfectly with the chocolate cake.  The cake was warm and oozing chocolate goodness from its center.  It was sinfully rich, but oh so good!  We were also given a complimentary plate of petits fours.  These, too, were all good and a nice touch to end this great meal. 

Chocolate Cake with Burnt Orange-Caramel Gelato & Espresso Sauce

A Selection of Petits Fours

I cannot say enough about Scarpetta.  I wish Chef Scott Conant all the best in all of his endevours.  He is an amazing chef with a clear vision of what refined Italian food should be.  There should be more chefs out there who take a page out of his book.  You do not see Chef Conant serving typical Italian-American fare.  You will not find Chicken Parmigiana on his menu.  Instead, you find Roasted Chicken with Peas, Fegato Sauce, Currants & Parmigiano. WOW!  The description alone is sexy and intelligent.  Chef Conant has become one of my culinary heroes.  I hold him up there with the likes of Thomas Keller, Mario Batali, Timothy Hollingsworth, Michael Chiarello, Chris Cosentino and Kevin Sbraga to name but a few of my heroes.  I would like to finish my tirade by thanking Chef Conant for what he has done in elevating Italian food in America.  I salute you!  Enjoy!

Living to eat,
Tony Mangia

P.S. To read about my first dining experience at Scarpetta, you can search my archives or click here.

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