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Your Ideal meal at Scarpetta?

What would you order if you were dining alone at Scarpetta? Here is what I was thinking... My toughest decision is main course.

Appetizer- The braised short ribs and the creamy polenta
Pasta- Duck foie gras ravioli
Main- Stuck between the ribeye, pork chop, and their signature capretto (never had goat but consider myself an adventurous foodie!)

They told me the ribeye is not bone-in so this is probably deter me from getting it. Although I could have sworn that I saw a pic of the ribeye and it did come on the bone. Maybe it was a special or something that night who knos.

Dessert- Either the chocolate/vanilla parfait, banana budino, or walnut torte.

Suggestions?

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  1. Definite Yes on the polenta...you might want to get two cause it is JUST THAT GOOD

    As for pasta...i had the duck foie gras ravioli and it was good. But there was an asian tasting overtone to it. Wasn't what I was looking for in a pasta. The tomato and basil on the other hand...was to DIE FOR. I'd forgo the ravioli and do the tomato and basil instead. I know it's hard to imagine how great can this dish really taste...but it just is. i didn't finish my ravioli but was licking the plate with the tomato and basil.

    For desserts...we got the molten chocolate cake. you can't even really go wrong with that

    2 Replies
    1. re: kelea

      Just called and the ribeye is no longer on the menu. It is a sirloin now and is indeed boneless. The receptionist convinced me that this is the way to go..

      Short ribs, polenta
      Ravioli or Spaghetti
      Capretto or Pork Chop
      Amadei Chocolate cake

      Hmm I don't know!

      1. re: steakrules85

        We haven't been to Scarpetta yet, but we did eat Conant's food when he was at L'Impero. His signature polenta with wild mushrooms is a died-and-gone-to-heaven dish. Not to be missed! The capretto is another signature; however, I found it to be too dry.

        Btw, No prices on his on-line menu ticks me off royally!

    2. The capretto is amazing but you REALLY have to like goat. It has a very distinct flavor that the person I dined with was not a fan of but that I absolutely loved. Might not be best to get that if you aren't sure (or try splitting entrees so you can get a taste of everything!)

      The spaghetti with tomato sauce is really the best pasta there but I also enjoyed the one with sweetbreads (forget exactly what it was)

      For an appetizer get the soft shelled crabs if they are still on the menu!

      5 Replies
      1. re: stephaniec25

        What does goat taste like? I have heard a mix of beef and lamb. And what about the texture? Is it a thick cut of meat or is it more like a pulled pork type consistency??

        I am having a hard time trying to decide between Momofuku Ssam and Scarpetta.

        1. re: steakrules85

          To be honest, goat tastes like...well...goat. It's unusual and maybe can be described as something akin to a more earthy tasting mutton perhaps? Sorry, maybe others can give a better description.

          The way its served at Scarpetta is cut up into bite-size chunks with a side of a more braised cut that pulls apart.

          1. re: stephaniec25

            Sounds awesome. I have had the mutton chop at Keens and loved the taste of that.

            1. re: steakrules85

              As stephanie25 says, goat has its own flavor. It's assertive but not overpowering. Imo, if you are going to try it, I highly recommend doing so at the new restaurant, Aldea. Chef/owner George Mendes' goat dish is superb!

              http://www.aldearestaurant.com

              1. re: RGR

                I agree. I found the goat at Scarpetta disappointing, whereas the one at Aldea was phenomenal, and I am a big fan of goat. The flavor should be much more delicate than beef or lamb, more like a cross between veal and pork, but much more interesting. I was not wild about the pork chop either. I'd have the black cod, which is really wonderful.

      2. The farfalle with sweetbreads is amazing - that's what I was thinking of, above.

        1. This is making me feel good about booking a table here for my husband's birthday. We'll be dining at Scarpetta next Friday evening.

          1. for me it's:

            -- yellowtail crudo
            -- asparagus soup w/ mussels (simply awesome)
            -- black cod w/ tomato

            sidenote re: capretto...i liked it ok, but i actually found their version to be not gamey-enough for me...i've eaten goat at Mexican places and homes in LA, where it's really earthy and pungent...Scarpetta's goat is much more mild, and i also didn't think it needed the potatoes...consistency is reasonably close to pulled-pork...

            3 Replies
              1. re: filmbomb

                I think you mean "capretto." :-)

            1. This one's easy for me:

              1. Short rib and polenta (to enjoy throughout the meal)
              2. Spaghetti with tomato and basil
              3. Capretto
              4. Banana Budino (you'll be too full for more than a bite or two of this)

              I didn't find the capretto to be overwhelmingly goat-y at all--though it is salty. I had to be talked into ordering it, since most of my goat experience has been with, let's say, "mature goat" served relatively unadorned in Greece. This wasn't that at all. Tender and delicious and I could just swim in it.

              I've enjoyed each of the pastas I've tried, but the foie gras ravioli will fill you up for the rest of the meal. The spaghetti, to me, is relatively light and perfect.

              I know that people's experiences will differ, but the menu above is the closest I've ever come to something that I would back with a guarantee.

              19 Replies
              1. re: planetjess

                sub the agnotlotti dal plin for the spaghetti and the ball would leave the yard (assuming, of course, you had your fill of house-made chips at the bar).

                1. re: planetjess

                  It seems like many agree the goat is the way to for the entree. I for one have never had goat but I love meat and game does not bother me in the slightest. I am just worried more about the consistency and about it being dry. I have heard conflicting reports that it is slices and others that it has the consistency of a pulled pork. Which is it and is it dry? (of course the menu describes it as moist roast capretto).

                  1. re: steakrules85

                    As I remember it, there are both small chunks and some braised bits that would be similar in consistency to pulled pork. No slices whatsoever. I have not experienced any inconsistency at Scarpetta at any point, but understand that some others may not have had my great good fortune, so it seems that others may have been served capretto that they found dry--luckily, I would describe mine as consistently succulent, moist, delicious, what have you...

                    Agnolotti dal plin is delicious as well--I can't really fault any of the pastas. I have a particular fondness for the spaghetti with tomato and basil because every time I eat it I feel like they must be picking tomatoes straight off the vine back in the kitchen. I think it may actually be my desert island food.

                    1. re: planetjess

                      Thanks planetjess. I will be heading there soon and most likely will be having the goat just because I want to try something different and this is their specialty dish. That is how you truly determine if a restaurant is great in my opinion.

                      And even though I hate doing it, if the goat is dry I will just send it back for something else.

                      1. re: steakrules85

                        I think that's a great approach--my experiences with the service at Scarpetta have been as terrific as my experiences with their food, so while I think that the chances of your running into a food problem are very low, I think the chances are very high that they'll make it right for you if there's a problem. Seriously, my mouth has been watering all morning just thinking about the capretto...

                        1. re: steakrules85

                          I wish you luck with the capretto, steakrules. I hope it turns out better than what we had when Conant was at L'Impero. But I applaud your advance decision to send the goat back if it's too dry. Exactly what you should have done with that $140 Ssam Bar steak which was not done to your specifications. ;)

                          1. re: RGR

                            Yeah I do not want to make that mistake again I learned my lesson. Even though I hate to be a complainer, when spending your hard earned dollars you deserve to get what YOU want.

                            1. re: steakrules85

                              steakrules,

                              Sending a steak back for not being prepared to your specifications is definitely *not* complaining. It's called getting exactly what you requested and are paying for. In fact, when that happens, the diner should be receiving profuse apologies for the kitchen's goof-up.

                              One of the problems we run into too often is food that is supposed to be hot arriving at the table barely warm. Firmly believing that food intended to be hot should be served hot, we generally send it back. Again, I don't consider this complaining. Either the kitchen didn't get it right before sending it out, or the server didn't pick it up quickly enough. Regardless, a diner should not have to suffer for the mistake.

                              1. re: RGR

                                Yeah you're totally right. In fact, I have sent a few steaks back on ocassion because that is a HUGE pet peeve of mine when it is not cooked to the correct doneness (Porterhouse NY and Primehouse).

                                However, for whatever reason I didn't at Momofuku. Upon reflection I probably should have! When spending your hard earned dollars you need to get what you came for. Oh well.

                          2. re: steakrules85

                            it's highly unlikely to be dry, as it's served in a good bit of stewed juices...bear in mind though, it's a decent portion but not huge (esp given your appetite at M.Ssam)...if you're starving, you could get the black cod also, which is prob the other signature entree there...

                            1. re: Simon

                              Simon,

                              I beg to differ. Just because something is cooked in liquid doesn't automatically mean it can't get dried out. At L'Impero, Conant served the goat in what I presumed was its juices, and the meat was still too dry. My guess is that the cook has to have just the right touch in getting goat meat to come out juicy. The fact that some have found the Conant's capretto to be juicy, while others, like me, say it's too dry, leads me to the conclusion that it's inconsistent.

                              1. re: RGR

                                fair enough...i see your point regarding juices and dryness of meat not being mutually exclusive...

                                when i had it at Scarpetta though, the combo of it being simialr to pulled pork and the juices it was served in made it nowhere near dry...but i only ordered it once, because while i liked it fine, i prefer the crudo, soups, and black cod at Scarpetta...

                                1. re: Simon

                                  One of these days I'm going to have to eat there two nights in a row--every time I go back after a couple of months, much as I tell myself to try something other than my standard, I can't bring myself to deny the cravings. If I can go two or three nights in a row, I have hope that I'll have the willpower to branch out--I've never, and nobody I've dined with has ever, tried the soups or the cod...

                                  1. re: planetjess

                                    i used to go there a lot last fall and managed to work my way through a lot of the menu...but when i go there now (maybe once/month?), i usually get the soup and the cod...

                                    1. re: Simon

                                      What kind of sauce comes with the cod? I love cod but it seems everyone is doing the miso thing and its so played out. Obviously, I know Scarpetta is not doing miso so what is the sauce?

                                      1. re: steakrules85

                                        The cod is described on the menu as being served with "caramelized fennel and concentrated tomatoes." Sounds to me like either tomato sauce or tomato "water."

                      2. re: planetjess

                        When I had the Short Rib app it came with a (delicious) taro Risotto not polenta, has that changed...?

                        1. re: TrishUntrapped

                          Oh no...I should have been clearer--my ideal menu at Scarpetta involves ordering the short rib (with risotto) as appetizer and also ordering the polenta with mushroom fricassee to enjoy throughout the meal (basically, i make it a side dish to all three courses--it never makes it to dessert). Two separate things. I actually think the polenta works best as a side rather than as its own course--1. it goes with everything; 2. you never want it to leave the table; and 3. this way I can justify getting it plus an appetizer (and pasta, and secondi....).

                          1. re: planetjess

                            Oh okay. My next meal is going to be two apps and a pasta in lieu of an entree I think.

                      3. The pastas and apps are so good that we skipped the "main" and just got an extra pasta and extra app. We got the ones that have already been mentioned here and LOVED them.

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: Slob

                          Wow the place sounds awesome. I really can't wait to try it to see how it stacks up to some of the other Italian restaurants I have dined at.

                          1. re: steakrules85

                            Steakrules: did you go yet? Would love to hear your report and how it compares to mine (http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/638064) as it seems we will have eaten much the same there.

                            1. re: Jorel

                              Jorel I would up going to Momofuku Ssam instead, however I will make it there soon as it is a priority destination. I will definitely write a lengthy review as I do whenever I visit a spot.

                        2. I had the polenta back at L'Impero about six years ago and still remember it like it was yesterday. THAT GOOD.

                          1. I've dined at Scarpetta three times now.

                            For app's (which are small), the Mozarella in Carozza is a revelation. The small braised cherry tomatoes pop with flavor. The short ribs on top of risotto are excellent. It's a small portion, but delicious. I could eat one of each of these as an entree and be happy,

                            For pasta, the Spaghetti with Tomato and Basil is a signature dish. It appears to be a small portion but is quite hearty.

                            I enjoyed the preserved orange-flavored Sliced Duck, but that's my personal taste. I have had the steak and it was fine, but not of steakhouse caliber.

                            For dessert, the Amadei Chocolate Cake (a molten lava cake done totally right) and Banana Budino (banana cake, carmelized banana slices) are perfect finishes.

                            3 Replies
                            1. re: TrishUntrapped

                              After my poor experience with the ribeye at Momofuku, I will not order steaks outside of steakhouses. I was considering the sirloin but thats out now. I LOVE duck but you are the first person to mention it. That is definitely another possibility for me.

                              1. re: steakrules85

                                i've had the duck...i enjoyed it, but i found it a little bland compared to the other things i've eaten there...

                                1. re: Simon

                                  Yeah, not everyone shares my duck love...so don't go by me.

                            2. We'll be there on Sat. night and I'm really looking forward to it. The DH is not a foodie or adventerous eater so I think I'm safe with the short ribs and tomato basil spagetti. What else would you reccomend that would be a simple Italian recipe?

                              We have an early reservation (all that was left). Can someone reccomend an upscale elegant bar nearby? Chowhound posters sent us to Yerba Buena a couple of months ago and it was one of the best drinks we've ever had.

                              1. I was hoping someone can recommend the perfect amount of food for 2. I was thinking:
                                1 or 2 appetizers, Spaghetti, 2 entrees and 1 shared dessert.

                                Also, I'd also like a recommendation for somewhere to grab a drink beforehand.

                                19 Replies
                                1. re: realhiphop

                                  I hate drinking in that neighborhood, so I can't help you there,.

                                  Hard to tell what the perfect amount of food for 2 is--do you eat light lunches? Tend to consume multi-course meals? Are you gluttonous when warranted or do you maintain your equanimity when faced with a surfeit of delicious options?

                                  Seriously, if my husband and I were to go in and eat no more than we would normally eat when going out for a fun evening, we'd split an app, get two pastas and split an entree and the dessert. Plus the polenta, because I am helpless before the polenta. However, we have never done this, because I have yet to be able to restrain myself there. Ultimately, I think it'll be down to whether you just can't decide between two of the pastas but can compromise on an entree, or if it's vice versa.

                                  1. re: planetjess

                                    i'm going tonight for my birthday-this thread has been quite useful! I will report back!

                                    1. re: deabot

                                      Good luck... I hope you have a great dinner. It seems like for whatever reason many people have been having bad experiences at Scarpetta lately. While this has made me a wee bit weary of going there, I still want to try it.

                                      Look forward to your verdict.

                                      1. re: steakrules85

                                        it was a great dinner, everything was executed well though it was not mind blowing. i was satisfied with everything from the food to the service but i think those looking for an extra special occasion or looking to be overwhelmed should look elsewhere. my husband for what it's worth thought the whole experience was much better than babbo, less pretentious, less expensive and food just as good though I have to disagree i think there were more standout flavours in my birthday dinner at babbo last year.

                                        anyways, we had the polenta and short rib appetizers to start, both good choices. Polenta was ultra rich and creamy the perfect comfort food. Short rib was tender and melty and the accompanying farro rissoto was cooked well but a little bland. For the pastas we had the duck foie gras ravioli a nice contrast to a similar dish we had at babbo. Whereas the version at Babbo was pasty inside and it also had a wonderful, tasty balsamic sauce. Scarpetta's was smaller delicate ravioli filled with moist filling and topped off with a simple Marsala butter sauce. We also tried the spaghetti, simple distilled tomato goodness and the pasta was the right texture. For the entree we had the goat, which was savory and very moist the diced potatoes, pancetta and rapini were nice sides.

                                        Dessert was the chocolate cake, decadent chocolate and I tried the olive oil cake which I thought was a little plain but I really liked the refreshing blood orange sorbet on the side.

                                        Oh! And I also forgot to mention the bread basket here is fantastic! Good choice of breads with eggplant caponata, marscapone butter and olive oil for dipping. File under one of my better bread baskets enjoyed at restaurants!
                                        Service was perfect, bang on that night-our server made thoughtful recommendations for wine and food and I appreciated that they split our polenta and goat dishes without asking. Our table was also crumbed twice and water glasses constantly refilled. We'll be back for sure.

                                        1. re: deabot

                                          Wow that sounds great. Soudns like the exact menu I will be ordering when I go. Except for maybe the dessert. Which was better the duck ravioli or the famed spaghetti with tomatoes?

                                          1. re: steakrules85

                                            steakrules that's a tough one but I think that the ravioli is the way to go. famed spaghetti was very enjoyable for me but i think i could see some folks balking at the price $24. for me it was well worth it because i always enjoy a spaghetti pomodoro. :)

                                            planetjess-yes it was great, i had thought about many places for my birthday and actually ended up canceling on jean georges so i could go to scarpetta (cheaper more bang for the buck I figured) and i'm happy with my decision. they even wrote 'happy birthday' on my dessert what a cute touch!

                                            1. re: deabot

                                              They did that for me as well this year--put a big smile on my face. I did want to respond to one other thing in your post. I totally take your point re "extra special occasion places". For some, this may not be that for them. I don't in any way think you're suggesting this, but want to caution others who may be considering subbing in this place for a Jean Georges or a Daniel that it doesn't aim, I don't think, for a heady nonpareil experience. Sometimes you just click with a place above and beyond how much you enjoy the food--Scarpetta has been that for me, and because it just makes me happy, it's where I choose to go for "every two months" kinds of special occasions when I just want to be happy and well taken care of and satisfied. I go there when I don't want to have to worry about having a good meal. But I wouldn't want to oversell it as a transporting experience for everyone. I think the food is very good and, in some cases (capretto, polenta, strangely the tea they use from tea forte), excellent. The spaghetti pomodoro just works for me on a basic simple craving level, but in the end, it's just very good spaghetti with tomato sauce. I think the place is most likely to live up to expectations if the expectation is for a satisfying meal served with attention to taking care of the customer rather than for a "life changing" experience (e.g., the first time I went to Daniel in 1996 and the white truffle risotto made me cry--I am still living that one down).

                                          2. re: deabot

                                            Couldn't be happier to read this. It sounds like you had exactly the experience I would have expected based on every time I go there. Steakrules--sub in the banana budino for dessert--trust me.

                                            1. re: planetjess

                                              Sound good i love banana... in fact all the desserts soung great...

                                              1. re: steakrules85

                                                don't forget the house-made chips at the bar. well worth arriving early.

                                                1. re: steve h.

                                                  If you are seated right away just ask for a bowl of the housemade chips and they'll bring them to you gratis. A good munchie while deciding what to order.

                                              2. re: planetjess

                                                what if you don't normally like bananas--is it one of those things that you'll still like, or steer clear from? i'm going tonight, can't wait to try these helpful suggestions!!

                                                1. re: paddlestick101

                                                  I wouldn't recommend it if you're not into bananas--not that you definitely wouldn't like it, but it's not something you can pick off--it's banana-ey goodness baked in, and so chances are much worse for your enjoyment than for someone who does like bananas, and I wouldn't want to steer you wrong.

                                                  1. re: paddlestick101

                                                    Get the chocolate cake instead, it's terrific.

                                                    1. re: TrishUntrapped

                                                      What makes this different from every other molten chocolate cake dessert? It seems like you can get this dessert anywhere... from TGI fridays to Jean Georges.

                                                      1. re: steakrules85

                                                        Just two things. The quality of the Amadei chocolate is noticeably high. Plus it is cooked correctly. Molten lava cake is pretty ubiquitous these days and often very mediocre or horrid. I never order it anywhere and only got it at Scarpetta because hubby is a chocoholic and we were sharing.

                                                        Will it sent the world on fire? No and nothing at Scarpetta will. I am afraid to say anything good anymore because it will be misconstrued as overselling. Don't expect the meal of your life or you will be disappointed.

                                                    2. re: paddlestick101

                                                      Molten chocolate cake...it's heaven

                                                  2. re: deabot

                                                    deabot we had the same experience. Although the polenta is one of the best dishes I've ever had and we don't eat dessert. The ravioli was heavenly also, but I was stuffed after the polenta, bread basket and then the ravioli.

                                                    We'll be back but I won't oversell it either. Hate to push this to one of those overrated restaurants that then see a backlash.

                                                    1. re: MaryKatesMom

                                                      i like going to scarpetta. i like sitting at the bar and kicking back with a gimlet or two. i like the bar chips way too much. i like having my wife meet me at the bar after work. i like the wine selection. i like eating a few apps and a pasta before heading out.

                                                      scarpetta works for me.

                                          3. i went last night and i'm sorry to report that i was a little disappointed after all the great reviews. they seated us 40 minutes past our res time without apology, so that i already felt a little unwelcome.
                                            Bread Basket-awesome, love the mascarpone butter and warm stromboli
                                            Creamy polenta-everything everyone said it was, creamy, tasty goodness, our favorite dish by far.
                                            Duck and foie gras ravioli-a little overwhelmingly heavy, not as well executed as Babbo's similar dish (think i saw a comparison somewhere above), i couldn't even finish my share.
                                            Spaghetti with tomato/basil-maybe it was overhyped. it was good but not great, i can see why people love it for its comfort food quality. i didn't taste the just-picked-from-the-orchard tomato quality though :(
                                            Capretto-it wasn't tough or dry, but i also wouldnt say it was tender or moist, and it lacked much flavor, sorry to all you fans.
                                            Banana budini-it was still good despite not being a banana fan, enjoyed the caramelized top.
                                            overall my friend and i enjoyed it but it didn't live up to the hype. maybe it was an off night? anyhow thanks for all the suggestions, they were helpful in directing our ordering strategy!

                                            1. from our recent trip...

                                              Soft Shell Crab with Lemon Prosecco Zabaglione and English Pea Puree
                                              This was apparently just added to the menu, and was incredible. Even if you don't typically go for soft shell crab, order this.

                                              Polenta with Fricassee of Truffled Mushrooms
                                              I love it when a plate is finished table side. Our waiter brought two small pots to the table, one with the polenta, the other with the truffled mushrooms and delicately combined the two. It took every ounce of my will power not to pull it in front of me and eat it like a bowl of cereal.

                                              Spaghetti
                                              As stated above, this is fresh made pasta, tomato sauce, and basil. That's it. I can't tell exactly what makes this so unbelievably good, but it might be the best thing I had all night.

                                              Duck and Foie Gras Ravioli
                                              Thank you, honorable duck who died so we could eat this. You are gone but never forgotten.

                                              Farfalle with Sweetbreads
                                              Completely changed the way I look at sweetbreads. Typically I avoid the organs of animals, but between this and the foie gras ravioli, I think I may have seen the light.

                                              Pancetta Wrapped Veal Loin
                                              These are smallish veal medallions surrounded by pancetta. Delicious.

                                              Striped Sea Bass with Saffron Gnocchi and Lobster
                                              To be honest, by the time this arrived at the table I was in a heavy food coma. It was a great piece of fish, but I was drunk on foie gras and pasta ... and wine.

                                              www.immaculateinfatuation.com