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Very impressed with Scalini Fedeli

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I was just in New York for a long weekend and tried Scalini Fedeli for the first time. It was fantastic. I lived in New York for a couple of years and always wanted to try this place, but I never managed to make it. I wish I had tried it earlier. I’ve been to Babbo a few times and while Babbo is a more modern restaurant the food at Scalini Fedeli was every bit as good.

The dining room is elegant and has an old world feel. The tables have white table clothes and long candles.

The wait staff was welcoming and attentive. Our server was knowledgeable about the food, deftly guided me through the menu and did a great job answering all my questions.

Overall the pastas and the main dishes were the stars of the menu. The salads and desserts were good, just not spectacular.

Mixed baby lettuce, roasted beets, sun dried tomato and goat cheese, dressed with an aged balsamic, pistachio vinaigrette – While it seems there is some type of beet, goat cheese and nut salad on just about every menu these days, if you can get past that, this version was quite enjoyable. The goat cheese was very good, the beets were julienned (sometimes I find when the beets are sliced larger I get too much beet in each bite), and the acid from the tomatoes juxtaposed the beets and goat cheese well.

Spaghettini “arrabiata” with mushrooms, black olives and minced Spanish anchovy in a spicy tomato sauce – This dish was good, but unspectacular. The pasta was well cooked, and it had the right amount of sauce (it was neither too wet nor too dry). While not as spicy as I expect an arrabiata to be, the sauce had good flavor. The tomato flavor did not overwhelm the dish, as the other flavor components (mushrooms and olives) were substantial in the sauce and added to its complexity.

Sauteed Ricotta Gnocchi in an arugula and sundried tomato sauce finished with grated goat cheese – This dish was heavenly. The Gnocchi were luscious pillows of ricotta goodness. They had the perfect texture. Slightly firm on the outside, soft and creamy on the inside, and they seemed to just melt in my mouth. The sundried tomato cream sauce had a rich tomato flavor and velvety texture. The arugula was wilted and added a slightly crunchy texture that complimented the rest of the dish well.

Duck two ways (leg confi and breast) over truffle corn risotto – This was one of the nightly specials, and the entire dish was executed well. The duck leg confi had a nice crispy skin, and the meat was delicate, succulent, and flavorful. The breast was well seasoned and perfectly cooked. The risotto had a rich and creamy texture, and I really enjoyed the sweetness of the corn with the duck and the truffle flavor.

Red Snapper with a sicilian olive-tomato jus and caponata with currants – This dish was truly superb. It was among the best fish dishes I’ve ever had. The fish itself was cooked perfectly. It was moist and tender, and it melted on in my mouth. The top of the fish had a light herb or seasoning crust that added flavor and a bit of a crunchy texture. The caponata was fantastic. It had a rich tomato base and the eggplant was cooked so it was completely tender. The tomato and eggplant was juxtaposed nicely by the sweetness of the currants. I love eggplant caponata, so I was predisposed to like it. But I thought it worked wonderfully with the fish and the olive-tomato jus.

Chocolate Soufflé Tart with cappuccino gelato and caramelized orange peel – The soufflé was good. It was not a traditional French soufflé. It was more like a chocolate molten cake. It was rich and chocolaty, and had a thick liquid chocolate center.

Warm Doughnuts made with ricotta cheese and served with four sauces – The doughnuts had a slightly crispy exterior and were coated in cinnamon sugar. The interior was light and fluffy. They came with four dipping sauces including a chocolate sauce and a butter rum sauce. I believe the other two sauces were mango and raspberry, but I can’t be sure. My favorite was the butter rum.

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Babbo
110 Waverly Pl, New York, NY 10011

Scalini Fedeli
165 Duane Street, New York, NY 10013

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  1. Thanks for the detailed review! I've always been a fan of Scalini Fedeli-- it's the old-old (old?) Bouley space, and the food and service have always been outstanding. Tables spaced far apart for quiet conversation, too. Last time I went the meal was prix fixe ($65 or so?) Still the same?

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    Scalini Fedeli
    165 Duane Street, New York, NY 10013

    1 Reply
    1. re: simetrias

      Yes. Still $65.