Loading...

More Than $24 Spaghetti 

Scarpetta offers rich, meaty repast

Thursday, Dec 2 2010
Comments

In an era when chefs become famous for their foie gras cotton candy, oxtail poutine or frog legs in begonia sauce, Scott Conant, the New York chef who just opened Scarpetta in Beverly Hills, may be best known for his $24 plate of spaghetti in tomato sauce, a dish that presumably even his most cuisine-impaired customers can make at home. And when you order his spaghetti with tomato sauce, you get spaghetti and tomato sauce, not truffled tagliatelle smothered in rare heirlooms or chitarra in a fennel-tomato confit — although it is handmade spaghetti in what could be considered a great tomato sauce, texture just south of a puree, scented with fresh basil and beaten with a little parmesan cheese. Is it worth $24? That's between you and your accountant. But even in the dreary weeks of late autumn, when great tomatoes are as rare in the supermarket as fresh peaches, Conant's spaghetti is first-rate.

Conant first came to New York's attention at l'Impero, a rather formal Italian restaurant near the United Nations, and then for his majestic Alto Adige-style cooking at Alto in midtown. He left both of those to start Scarpetta in the Meatpacking District: The menu was similar to l'Impero's, but it was a manly, informal place, seemingly built for export, and he did open branches in Miami and Toronto before opening in this dining room of the Montage Hotel. In Beverly Hills, Scarpetta becomes grand and formal again, like an Italian Bouchon, with headwaiters and high ceilings and sommeliers who don't introduce themselves by saying, "Hi, my name is Jeff." Scarpetta is not inexpensive, although there is a $24 prix-fixe lunch menu.

But here is that spaghetti again, and the beet-stuffed Northern Italian pasta called cansonsei, and a clunky ravioli stuffed with foie gras in a sticky marsala reduction. His famous polenta is on the menu, almost more cream than corn, served with his thick, woodsy, wild-mushroom stew. The venison loin is cooked sous-vide to a supreme softness, and rolled in the ashes of burnt spices, which gives the burnt, savory flavor of grilling without compromising the texture of the meat. There is duck breast with parsnips, short ribs with farro and steak with Barolo and porcini — this is a meaty place, albeit one with a vegetarian menu available on request.

Location Info

Related Stories

  • Our Water Obsession

    "Either you bring the water to L.A. or you bring L.A. to the water." - Chinatown Countless documentaries are released into theaters every year, the majority of which are info dumps that take the talking-head structure as a given. There's rarely much thought given to form, which is sometimes fine - not every...
  • SoCal Is a Top Real Estate Destination for America's Rich

    America's wealthiest people are concentrated in just a few areas, mainly East Coast cities and suburbs, around Southern California, and in the Bay Area. That, at least, is according to geographer Stephen Higley, who looked at 2006-2010 American Community Survey data to come up with a list of "America's 1,000 Richest Neighborhoods." The...
  • L.A. Is One of America's Sexiest Cities

    You sexy motherf - - -. Take a bow. As we enjoy Valentine's Day Eve (VDE!), consider that L.A. officially ranks as one of America's top 5 "Sexiest Cities" for 2014, according to travel website Orbitz. The big question is, why aren't we number one! L.A. was beat out by...
  • The 5 Best Happy Hours in Los Angeles

    Where are the best happy hours in this giant metropolis? We're not just talking $1 off some boring, mass-produced beer. We're talking about a chance to try great restaurants at amazing prices - and run up tabs so low that even a penny pincher would be happy to pay them...
  • Electric Haven

    You smug rich people with your Teslas and energy draining mega-mansions should be proud. Los Angeles is the nation's leader in electric car sales. ChargePoint, the company that runs the nation's largest network of charging stations, says Angelenos bought 5,000 of the plug-in cars in the third quarter of 2013. That's...

More About

Scarpetta

Scarpetta: 224 N. Canon Drive, Beverly Hills, (310) 860-7970

Related Content

Related Locations

Now Trending

Slideshows