Underwhelmed again at Scarpetta
Being foodies who regularly go to Manhattan to dine, we went to Scarpetta Toronto last year and it was decent but not spectacular by any stretch and certainly well below par at these prices by Manhattan standards. We went again this weekend for a bday dinner and again (except for the polenta), ho hum, not bad, but probably won't go again at least for another year, many never.
It's disappointing that Conant seems to put his Toronto restaurant sub-par to his same in NYC. I hope David Chang's Momofuku doesn't suffer the same drop in excellence when his restaurant opens here.
I have banned Scarpetta from my list of restaurants. I have found it to be over-priced and inconsistent. The dishes all seem to lack depth and everything (except the polenta) tastes only fine at the best of times. I can't say I've ever had a good experience there. Given that, I'm not risking a meal in NYC on the Manhattan resto!
I'm not convinced by the argument that the Toronto Scarpetta is of lower quality than the NYC location based solely on the fact that I wasn't all that impressed with the dinner I had at the Manhattan location, it was good, not great and certainly did not justify it's price point.
Momofuku is a different kettle of fish, keep in mind that all of Chang's restaurants are pretty casual, with the exception of Ma Peche intensely casual, heck Saam bar doesn't even have full table service at lunch time any more (with the new duck centric menu they've switched the service to the same system that is used here at Wvrst) and he's often criticized in some circles for being wildly inauthentic (these people are idiots, but vocal idiots) so some people are just not going to like whatever he comes up with. Also keep in mind that Chang gives a great deal of autonomy to the individual chefs at each restaurant and has really stepped back from the day to day running of the individual restaurants. He has already tagged the chef who's going to be running the Toronto location, he currently works at Ma Peche and used to work at Ko. Also keep in mind that Chang is on record that the Toronto restaurant will be a new concept, so unlike Scarpetta the local chef isn't simply going to be trying to copy the boss by remote control. I have great hopes but I think people who haven't experienced the Momofuku thing in NYC may initially find it a little baffling.
Tonight was our first time eating at Scarpetta and I was surprised to hear your review, although I haven't been to his Manhattan restaurant so I can't compare. We had a 6pm reservation, which maybe early for a Thursday night there, not sure since it was not busy at all. We tried the lamb carpaccio (special), misto fritto, and heirloom tomatoes as our apps. The misto fritto was our least favorite, but sill yummy and light for fried food. They did bring out a sample of the polenta, which was amazing for cornmeal! It's not something I would have ordered, but something I would def. get if and when we go back. Our entrees, were the sable fish, trout, spaghetti with tomato sauce, and the strip loin. All were amazing. The spaghetti is simply delicious!! The sable fish was probably my least favorite, but the others I would order again! We also sampled the orccheitte & duck foie gras raviolis - very rich and original.Believe it or not we had room for dessert! We had the chocolate cake, strawberry/rhubarb shortcake & chocolate carmelina. They were all so good. Love the various textures of the carmelina, the chocolate cake was decadent, and the shortcake was light, loved the basil and cream...ah..... The service was top notch. We will be back to dine again!