by Ada on September 16, 2012

Last Saturday night Kevin and I headed to Scarpetta to celebrate his birthday. This proved way less physically taxing than completing the half ironman on his actual day of birth.

Upon being seated our server greeted us with their infamous bread basket, composed of smoked mozzarella/salami stromboli, focaccia and rustic country loaf.

The accompanying condiments proved equally as formidable, consisting of citrus-herb infused olive oil, butter mascarpone, and wonderful eggplant caponata.

We started the meal with three appetizers. First up was the tuna susci: Tuna rolled with marinated vegetables and preserved truffles.

The maki-style presentation permitted the fusion of the disparate flavors into each bite. Though I never thought I would complain of excess truffle,  the subterranean fungivore appeared to overpower the dish’s other flavors.

Next up was the  Raw Yellowtail: olio di zenzero and flaked sea salt

This was one of my favorite dishes of the evening. From the fresh tasting fish to the subtle notes of sea salt all the flavors commingled wonderfully.

Our final appetizer consisted of the Crispy Fritto Misto: seafood, vegetables, artichokes, herbs, and lemon.

This dish tasted rather lackadaisical, which I attribute more to the inherent nature of deep fried foods than the restaurant’s  utter adroitness. I also experienced difficulty discerning any seafood other than the stalwart calamari.

Progressing onto our entrees, we decided to split one pasta and one meat dish. For the pasta we selected the restaurant’s famous spaghetti with tomato and basil.

This dish has received many accolades for it’s revelatory taste despite such simplistic ingredients (hint: the secret to the dish lies in chili infused olive oil and lots of butter). Though certainly tasty and comforting, this dish was not exactly transcendent. One could easily recreate the flavor with homemade sauce and a bit of love-infused cooking.

After our pasta came the unanimous favorite dish of the evening, Spiced Duck Breast: favas, braised endive, and apricot mostarda.

This dish alone made visiting Scarpetta worth it. The duck breast was cooked perfectly rare and lacked the traditional gamey flavor. Had I been blind-folded and asked to identify the meat I would have guessed beef. The apricot mostarda proved a welcome divergence from the traditional orange sauce served with duck at French restaurants and the braised endive added a delicate sweetness.

Unfortunately, my fixation with the duck occluded my sensibilites and I neglected to photograph dessert until mid-way through. I was a bit disappointed because I had phoned ahead and asked them to provide a birthday candle with dessert for Kevin’s birthday. Unfortunately dessert arrived with no candles. Oh well.

We shared the Amadei Chocolate Cake, accompanied by salted caramel gelato and chocolate butterscotch

along with the coconut panna cotta, served with guava sauce and caramelized pineapple

While both desserts were great, the guava sauce on the panna cotta definitely won me over.

We had such a lovely meal at Scarpetta with great service (other then the b-day candle mishap) and generally strong food. My overall grade:


After dinner we continued the celebration at Press Lounge, a low-key bar with wonderful views of Manhattan. Would definitely recommend it for any tourists or native New Yorkers alike.

Hope everyone is having a nice weekend!

Scarpetta on Urbanspoon