Scarpetta Lunch Service
I had a great experiences there today, minus some rookie mistakes I made which racked up our bill when I was trying to keep it reasonable. You can pick any 2 dishes on the lunch menu for $28, $12 for each additional plate.
We start with the bread basked which features a ciabattini. During dinner service you get 4 types of bread, but they still bring out all 3 delicious accompaniments: citrus/rosemary infused olive oil, whipped marscapone butter, and eggplant caponata. The ciabattini is top notch - pilowy warm softness inside, slight chew on the outside - as are the sides. Before our mains come out, they bring us a free plate of pork-stuffed arrancini. They are fantastic! Not too dense and nicely crisp. For the mains, we order the scallop with sunchokes, the polenta served alongside mushrooms in truffle broth, the famed tomato spaghetti, spelt pasta alla chitarra, and the halibut with salsa verde and porcini mushrooms.
The scallop was beautifully cooked, and the most delicious scallop I've had in recent memory. Great char on the outside, oceanic sweetness in the inside. I believe the dinner version gets a showering of shaved white truffles on top, but during lunch you get a truffle infused broth poured over. The polenta gets the "poor man's" treatment as well, but nonetheless I LOVE the truffled mushrooms - out of this world rich and wonderful! The last great polenta I had was at LudoBites and this was equally as good and even more cheesy and buttery.The spaghetti is just as decadant and delicious as the polenta - screaming out bright flavors and great texture. I am blown away by this dish, but in a more subtle way I'm wowed by the spelt pasta alla chitarra. The texture and flavor is as delicate as japanese soba. I can taste wheat and it has a great chew and I appreciate every little strand. It's like soba that's been tossed in a LOT of butter, cheese, and adorned with little cubes of mushroom and pumpkin.
For the $12 extra dollars, I was expecting the tiniest of halibut filets, but it comes out very well-portioned for lunch and perfectly cooked. I just wish there were more porcini mushroom on the plate.
All in all, a fantastic experience - minus the annoying markups that I only noticed when the bill came. For example, I wanted tap water but received a $8 bottle of filtered (they open it so quickly at the table it's tough to tell them to take it back!). I foolishly assumed iced tea refills were on the house but they ended up being $6 each. Ended the meal with a La Mill macchiato which came out to $7. I was so saddened to realize I spent $33 on non-food items - I could have gotten 2 extra lunch plates!
For Italian food in LA (and I've not had much) Scarpetta is at the top of my list. My other 2 favorites are Cube Marketplace and Osteria Momma. Behind those are Osteria Mozza and way behind that is Angelini Osteria. For $28 (if you don't order any drinks!) it's a lunch-time bargain in my book.
7313 Beverly Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90036
6602 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90036
Roving wildly, Los Angeles, CA
Lunched there this past wknd. Twas empty save for our table and 2-3 others. Overall, the food met my expectations, altho the famed spaghetti fell very short. Bread basket contained herbed focaccia and ciabatiini, with olive oil, butter, and eggplant as the accompaniments. Mushroom arancini w/aioli for amuse bouche, the signature polenta, casonsei w/beet & ricotta (very interesting textures), the signature spaghetti, and the spelt pasta alla chitarra w/pumpkin & porcini mushrooms. My expectation of the spaghetti was very high, and so I was rather disappointed with the doughy noodles and the tart sauce. The rest of the dishes were good to very good.
Nice write-up. Good to know I can get my Italian fix for $28 at lunch. I'm glad to see the spelt pasta is on the regular menu. I tried it and was pleasantly surprised.
In defense of the restaurant, I've read that the only reason some places can afford to stay open for lunch is the water. So, take the extra charges as helping ensure LA continues to have good Italian available for lunch.
Agree with your list and have been disappoint by Angelini twice now. If you are a fan of Italian, La Botte and Amarone were very good IMO.
Hello! I agree with you; it's difficult for a restaurant to stay in business...now or at any time. But I do think that the diner should be advised ahead of time of any up-charges.
I'm in agreement that we must all maintain the wonderful restaurants here - and the restaurateurs must do their best as well.