I’ve been lusting for a meal at Scarpetta since Frank Bruni’s lovely three-star review in the Times last summer. That, and I loved Scott Conant’s food at L’Impero and heard about the good things happening at his other restaurant Alto. Friends who went to Scarpetta talked about his spaghetti like it was crack (not that any of my friends are crack addicts in real life). Last night I went for it, anxiously showing up to the restaurant at 6:30PM (I had tried to get a reservation but they were fully booked), only to be pleasantly shocked by a wide-open bar and a very friendly bartender named Susan.
The meal was exactly as I expected: excellent. I have profound respect for dishes where a few ingredients are so brilliantly utilized and lovingly presented as to elevate something as simple as spaghetti to another level of exquisite. Unfussy food became refined; each dish minimal in its composition but vibrant in its flavor. From the light citrusy bite of yellowtail crudo to the rich creaminess of polenta and mushrooms, there was a playfulness between ingredients. It’s the sort of meal where you leave nothing behind, and where you DEFINITELY take a long, slow walk home.
Scarpetta: 335 W. 14th St, nr Ninth Ave (a strange location just off the Meatpacking). Visit their website.