We went to Scarpetta 355 West 14th Street, New York, NY 10014 for Lon’s birthday. It’s just blocks from our apartment so that we could roll our stuffed selves home. The simple earth tones, high ceilings, and sky light make a comfortable atmosphere. However, the mirrors looked like they had seatbelts on. (Check out how clean they are though.)


As with any top tier Italian restaurant, I expect the wonderfully fresh bread basket. The variety was great, particularly the Stromboli.


The Mascarpone Butter is a great idea, one I will copy for sure. The Caponata tasted like a reduced sauce, richly concentrated tomato with some eggplant. The Citrus Oil was vibrant but it fell behind the other two winners.

Mascarpone Butter, Caponata, Citrus Oil

Lon had a great sparkling rose, Emilia Romagna Lambrusco by Lini Fabio 2008. It was wrongly described as very dry, when it actually was a tad sweet, but we both loved it and would certainly have it again. It’s especially amazing and refreshing in the first few sips when it was very cold. I had the Torre dei Beati Montepulciano d’Abruzzo Cerasuolo 2008. It’s organic, a little dry, and so perfectly balanced, another we’d buy again.


I started off with the Braised Short Ribs with Vegetable and Farro Risotto, which struck me as being a dish I’m more used to seeing as an entree. I was glad to have it as as appetizer though because it is rich, comforting, and delicious in a very universal way, but a big plate would be too much.

Short Ribs with Vegetable and Farro Risotto

Lon ordered the Mozzarella en Carozza, which turned out to be more of a Fried Mozzarella (no bread except for breading). It oozed beautifully but is not really notable.

Mozzarella en Corozza 2

There was a bit of a wait before food arrived, so they sent a complimentary dish of Creamy Polenta, which came with a separate bowl, Fricassee of Truffled Mushrooms, that you spooned on yourself. This creamy and cheesy polenta is smoother and softer than any other, dreamy really. It was perfectly seasoned and paired well with the plump and juicy mushrooms. (Even Lon ate a bunch of the mushrooms!)

Creamy Polent with Mushroom Fricassee

For our pasta course, I chose the Duck and Foie Gras Ravioli. There was such a huge portion of beautiful, un-uniformed triangles. The filling had a nice lightness you don’t expect from foie gras but it was a tad sweet after a while and neither of us tasted any duck.

Duck and Foie Gras Ravioli 2

Lon ordered the Black Maccheroni, which looked thick but felt perfect between the teeth. The mix of seafood walked the fine line of being brilliantly aromatic, but not fishy.

Black Maccheroni with Mixed Seafood

We received another complimentary dish of Agnolotti, filled with mixed meat and fonduta, but it felt mushy and tasted like liver, that iron-y taste.

Agnolotti Dal Plin

Things were pretty great until we got to entrees. The skin of my Striped Bass was elastic rather than crisp. The flesh was flavorless and the seafood underneath was fishy. I ate less than half.

Wild Striped Bass with Seafood

Lon ordered the Roasted Capretto (goat) which was very dry and also flavorless. He ate up all the potatoes and rapini with onions, but left tons of meat. The pea shoots on top were the most tender I’ve had, but it could not save the centerpiece of this dish.

Roasted Capretto with potatoes and rapini

We were so stuffed, having over-ordered and then getting two more dishes. (BTW, the table next to us also got a complimentary dish of polenta.) We decided to skip dessert. Most places have better appetizers than entrees but here the difference is pretty severe. If we hadn’t ordered entrees (which would have been enough food for sure), it would have been a pretty stellar meal, although a little pricey (bill $180.73). So, we do recommend Scarpetta, but stick to appetizers and pastas only.

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