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Feb 17, 2009 08:29 AM

Giorgio Armani's Opinion of Italian Food in USA

"On Saturday night, I went to dinner at an Italian restaurant called Scarpetta with my niece Roberta and a small group of my close Italian friends. I liked the décor and the food was pretty good, but you know the service was a bit slow. I ate spaghetti con pomodoro and basilico — and, here, I must interject something for your benefit. Americans overcook their pasta. Always. And there’s too much sauce. Too much of everything! Please, try to control yourselves."

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  1. Oh I loved reading that. Many thanks for the link. And, He's absolutely right. Overcook macaroni, too much blah sauce and huge portions. I never order pasta and when it's presented as a side for whatever I do order I refuse it.

    I'd like to comment about the ordinary people he saw at the club but I won't.... and, he's right about that too.

    3 Replies
    1. re: Gio

      Scarpetta is very well reviewed, as well. It's not your run of the mill pasta joint. Three stars from Frank Bruni of the New York Times. Here's what Bruni had to say about the spaghetti con pomodoro and basilico, "...however Mr. Conant is choosing and cooking the Roma tomatoes with which he sauces his house-made spaghetti, he’s getting a roundness of flavor and nuance of sweetness that amount to pure Mediterranean bliss.

      And what he’s adding to the sauce — the aforementioned basil, along with a red-pepper-infused olive oil and Parmesan cheese — contribute measures of zip (just a little), saltiness (a little more) and smoothness (a lot) that are inarguably right. I had this dish twice, and twice it stacked up against any spaghetti al pomodoro I’ve had in Italy."

      Imagine what Mr Armani must think of lesser Italian restaurants in America.

      1. re: KTinNYC

        Curiously, that sauce as Bruni describes is very like the one I make all the time. Don't forget that Mr. Amani is a very slim, trim fashion icon. He dosesn't eat hearty like many Americans. Northern Italians don't like too much sauce on anything....

        1. re: KTinNYC

          It was quite a broad stroke in judgment, I agree. Though I would have to say that it is REALLY hard to get good Italian food in the US. If you're outside a big city, fuhgeddaboutit. Oversauced, overcooked, Americanized stuff. Out of 10 meals, only 1 stands out. The rest were disappointments.

      2. And he's dressed like Doug Henning!

        1. Why would someone who doesn't travel much to go NYC and then eat food from his native country? Reminds me of my relatives in Taiwan who go to Thailand and then eat Chinese food the whole time. They might know a lot about food from their native country, but I suspect their opinions are biased.

          6 Replies
          1. re: huaqiao

            I'm pretty certain Armani comes to NYC quite often. He keeps and apartment here and has a regular driver.

            1. re: KTinNYC

              My apologies for misreading the article. I mistook him saying he really disliked traveling to imply that he didn't travel much.

              I've never been to Scarpetta, so I don't know if he assessment is accurate. Is it really overcooked noodles in too much sauce served in portions that are too large? Or is he just transfering his preconceived notions of all Italian food in the US in general to the particular Italian restaurant he tried on his trip?

              I find when natives of a country judge that cuisine in another country, there's always a pinch of food nationalism involved, even in cases where it's not really warranted.

            2. re: huaqiao

              Why would someone who doesn't travel much to go NYC and then eat food from his native country?
              Maybe his dislike for other cuisine is the reason why he doesn't travel much. In this case, he's comparing Italian food here to Italian food to Italy. He's not comparing Chinese food in NYC to Italian food in Italy.

              1. re: Ericandblueboy

                Italians are notorious for being very fixed on their own cusine. My father hated Chinese food, French food and most other ethnic cusines. I would guess that Armani eats Italian food where ever he goes!

                1. re: roxlet

                  In his blog Armani says he will be eating French the next day.

                  1. re: KTinNYC

                    Yes, and I wonder what he would say about that! Too much sauce? Too creamy? Pasta overdone?

            3. I have to agree with M. Armani. He knows what he's talking about. Having met him once (and having loved his clothing for as long as I can remember), I couldn't disagree.

              That said, I'm American, and we serve things differently for ourselves than we do for guests. With guests, more authentic (al dente with a light dressing of sauce appropriate to the shape). For ourselves, we happen to prefer the pasta slightly less al dente and with 3 parts sauce to 1 part pasta. We're sauce fiends. Please don't tell anyone. :)

              1. Should be interesting when the new restaurant/bar opens in his store.