SCARPETTA – First Look

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Some newspapers and ‘zines rush to be the first to review a restaurant. Some websites pride themselves on being able to show you what a restaurant will look like weeks before it starts cooking, and some critics (and bloggers) love to be the first to crow about having eaten there first.

But only Eating Las Vegas has the temerity, the gall, the guts and the gumption to review a restaurant 6 months before it opens!

Not really, but we did think you might like to look at a few tasty snaps of uber-chef Scott Conant‘s food before he opens in the Cosmopolitan in December.

So renowned is the food of Conant, ELV and his staff made a point to visit Scarpetta when we were in the Big Apple last week.

Cloned restaurants being cloned restaurants, we figured what we were served there would be pretty close to the exceptional Italian eats Conant will be bringing to our humble burg.

We asked them to take it easy on us, as this was dinner #1 in a night that was to conclude with the afore-posted pressed duck at Daniel.

So they served us almost everything on the primi piatti menu:

RAW FLUKE (that was no fluke!)
citrus & fennel 15
basil & spring vegetables 15
sunchokes & roasted porcini mushrooms 17
fricassee of truffled mushrooms 15
stewed baby tomatoes 15
vegetable & farro risotto 16

Three of Conant’s world famous noodles:
tomato & basil 24
hazelnuts, brown butter & horseradish 24
marsala reduction 25

…and the Sicilian duck breast off the { p i a t t i } menu:

preserved orange, root vegetables & caramelized endive 26

What impressed us the most were the in-your–face flavors popping from every dish, and a Batali-like sensibility in combining two or three big flavors per plate.

The prices are posted so you can see what a hip and happenin’ New York restaurant charges for upscale Italian. (ELV has maintained for years that Vegas high-end restaurants are more expensive than New York’s — but the economic downturn seems to have reversed this. Our wine lists, however, remain the most overpriced in the country.)

Our favorite dish was the asparagus and mussel soup — brimming with the taste of Spring, but as good as it was, wethinks the C-man’s true calling is pasta. ELV can still taste his short rib agnolotti with hazelnuts, brown butter and horseradish, and The Food GalĀ® swears his iconic spaghetti with tomato and basil is the best she’s ever had. Only the duck and foie gras ravioli disappointed — hyper-delicious but heavy, and hampered and a too-sweet Marsala sauce.

As for the duck: It was a ducky delight, but we have to confess we were smacking our lips in anticipation of the little quacker yet to come, so we weren’t concentrating on how perfectly roasted and spiced it was.

One meal does not an analysis make, but we think we’re on firm ground in proclaiming Scarpetta a worthy competitor to the boffo pastas at Valentino and B & B Ristorante. Conant’s moist-roasted capretto (baby goat) and creamy polenta probably aren’t conventioneer-friendly enough to survive the trek westward, but the rest of his menu strikes the right balance between the familiar and the creative (again, much like Molto Mario), and should be a hit from the get-go.

FYI: Antonello Paganuzzi — Former Manager of Le Cirque and Circo, Las Vegas, is Conant’s Director of Operations. He knows the Vegas market, and is another reason this place should hit the ground running.


355 West 14th Street

New York, NY


7 thoughts on “SCARPETTA – First Look

  1. Glad to hear Antonello is doing well. I always thought he was a great guy and was sorry to see him leave town after his stint at the Wynn. I’m going to check this place out when I’m in N.Y.C. next month. Thanks for the write up.

  2. What are the little purple cubes in the asparagus and mussel soup (picture #8)?

  3. I had dinner at the Scarpetta in Beverly Hills on Saturday. Fantastic meal ! If that is any indication on what to expect when they open at the Cosmopolitan, I will be a regular for sure. Simple, great ingredients, perfectly prepared. Antonello, I curse you for introducing me to that Jacopo Poli Blueberry grappa!

  4. The worse food I have tasted in a long time. We had 8 people for dinner and everyone was completely grossed out by the meal. Pass this place up next time you are making your choice. Yuck!

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