355 West 14th Street (at 9th Avenue)
S. Russell Groves
Scarpetta means “little shoe” — or the shape bread takes when used to soak up a dish.
Creamy polenta with fricassee of truffled mushrooms
Spaghetti with tomato & basil
Scarpetta’s boneless braised veal shank with saffron-parmigiano orzo
Coconut panna cotta with guava soup & caramelized figs
Monday – Thursday: 5:30 pm – 11:00 pm
Friday & Saturday: 5:30 pm – 12:00 am
Sunday: 5:30 pm – 10:30 pm
Bar opens at 4:00 pm.
Dining room: 75 seats
Café: 14 seats outside; 16 seats inside
Bar: 12 seats
All major credit cards accepted
Review By Nancy Walman
This May, New York chef Scott Conant (L’Impero, Alto) opened Scarpetta. An Italian expression meaning “little shoe” — or the shape bread takes when used to soak up a dish — Scarpetta represents the pure pleasure of savoring a meal down to its very last taste. The restaurant’s seasonally-inspired Italian dishes offer farm-fresh ingredients and clean, earthy flavors that pay homage to Conant’s heritage and time in Italy.
Guests can start with a selection of assagini, or small tasting plates, and move on to heartier dishes such as imported ricotta raviolini with chicken livers and spinach puree and a remarkable calamarata pasta with mixed seafood and sea urchin. Truth be told, a bottle form the excellent wine list (and there are plenty to choose from for under $50), the superb bread and olive oil and either the aforementioned pasta or the most glorious homemade spaghetti with tomato & basil, that takes on a golden color coupled with such superb desserts and fresh cherries in wine with a light cream or a Key lime tart would make one of our town’s best Italian grazes and offer a bargain at that.
Of course, we are not suggesting that miss such appetizers as a delicate Scallop Carpaccio with baby greens, avocado, citrus salad & chives or the signature Crispy Fritto Misto, which puts all others to shame.
If you have room for entrees, go for the unusual Roasted Baby Chicken parsnip puree, liver sauce, currants & almonds or the fabled Moist-Roasted Capretto peas & fingerling potatoes.
Designed by S. Russell Groves, the space reflects Conant’s honest and personal approach to Italian cuisine: equally grounded in tradition and modern interpretation (the mirrors, stabilized by leather belts are ingenious). The airy 70-seat restaurant features a retractable roof in the main dining room and a long mahogany bar and a 20-seat café in the front. Scarpetta’s bar, an ideal spot for drinks or a casual dinner, offers a separate menu, along with wine tastings and wine-inspired cocktails. Guests can also dine outside in the 20-seat patio, watching bustling city streets over a leisurely meal.
Service at Scarpetta is warm and guiding and despite the trendy location and upmarket menu, Scarpetta is one of Manhattan’s most authentic (and most delightful) Italian restaurants.
Copyright 2008 By Punchin International. All Rights Reserved.