Friday, December 10, 2010

Scarpetta ~ B'day Dinner #1

Had my first Birthday dinner last Sunday with some friends and I'm not going to lie but Scarpetta wasn't my first choice.I only choose it because frankly, a lot of good restaurant are close on Sundays but some of my friends couldn't make it on Saturday (>__<) But since it is one of the most buzz about restaurant this year in the newly open Thompson Hotel. So why the buzz? This is the 3rd location, the other 2 in Manhattan & Miami has received 3 stars from New York Times and New York Magazine which are some serious accolades, so I have to give it a try...

The word Scarpetta (meaning "little shoe") is Italian slang for the little piece of bread you use to sop up leftover sauce from your plate....

Two of my guests were late and we were all hungry so we start digging in the breads which was super yummy and it was served with choice of Mascarpone Butter, Eggplant Tapenade & Lemon infused oil . The 8 of us went through 3 yummy baskets, there was slices of regular baguette and prosciutto basil smoked mozzarella roll-ups (I could eat this as dinner any other day)

 We decided to all share the appetizers and pastas, then each order our own entree... so of course we choose some of  their more popular/famous ones (^_^)

Crispy Fritto Misto ~ Fried Calamari & veggies shredded shoestring texture with a light batter.
This wasn't bad but not great since it was not served hot enough.

 Creamy Polenta w/ fricasse of truffled mushrooms
~ I would have prefer the Polenta to be a bit more textured, this was overly creamy that you couldn't taste the cornmeal flavour (I like the one from Table 17 much better - here). On the other hand the mushroom was so yummy, but I guess you can not go wrong with any mushrooms especially truffle flavoured.

Sorry guys, this was half eaten when I realize that Ben only took the picture of the Polenta

Braised Short Ribs of Beef w/ veggies & farro risotto  
~ this was my fav appetizers, the meat was melt in your mouth out shine by farro risotto which has more texture than you regular risotto which are normally cook soft w/ a bit more of a past consistency.. but as you can see in the picture, you can still see each individual grain (it's perfect for an appetizer)

Spaghetti w/ tomato & basil
~ the much raved about dish, it was also feature in Food Network's The best Thing I ever Ate in the Sauce episode nominated by Ted Allen. I watch that episode the week right before this dinner and being a big fan of that show I was telling Ben that at last something that we can go try in Toronto...
But what a disappointment, the $23 spaghetti was obviously hand-made, it was nothing special and being name "the best sauce" by Ted Allen, I was expecting an explosion of flavour in my mouth....
too bad it wasn't =(

Duck & Foie Gras Ravioli w/ marsala reduction
~ Ok it doesn't look that great in the picture but this was my favorite dish of the night... the creamy foie gras center was heavenly =P

Ash Roasted Venison
~ this was Ben's main and I liked his much better than mine actually. It was cooked just right, the venison meat was extremely flavorful & moist plus the "ash" crust further compliment the meat.

Mediterranean Branzino ~ swiss chard, manila clams & salsa verde.

Sicilian Spiced Duck breast ~ organic radish, fava bean & pickled mustard seed.
This was my main but it wasn't that great, the puree and the beets was actually better than the duck itself.

Ocean Trout ~ almond puree, lentils & slow roasted heirloom carrots.

Since we didn't feel like dessert, we didn't order any but our waiter still bought over this Mini Treats ~ sausage looking Brownies, mini macaroons & pineapple Marshmallow.
The brownie was bland, the macaroons was overly sweet but I did love the marshmallow... the tiny piece of slightly sour pineapple on top just accentuate the marshmallow which was just sweet enough.
I'm not complaining since it was free of charge.. LOL =D

Love the Thompson Hotel Lobby Bar concept... love the wall-art & the mixture of different chairs/sofa

Food not worth the $$$, there's a lot much better Italian Restaurant in T.O.
If you want to enjoy the cool decor, just go to the bar and have a drink


  1. The Thompson Hotel is very modern and chic for sure, been there once for a party. I'm glad you wrote this review because it was only a few weeks ago that i heard some mixed reviews about Scarpetta since I was asking around for an Italian place for a birthday party in downtown. My most trusted foodie friend heard that Scarpetta is over rated and expensive (even though he hasn't been himself) while another guy I know said Scarpetta is awesome (he has actually been there but he's not really a foodie). So I was torn but didn't end up going to Scarpetta anyway. Your "verdict" section just confirms what I needed to know for the future ^_^

  2. I wanted to trythe Spaghetti so bad, cause heard so much about it... but it was really not that specail plus it was served rather cold... i wish it was piping hot =( same for ths misto fritto... hate restaurant serving their food cold or even luke warm, just ruin everything...

  3. Yeah you would think serving food hot is the most fundamental and important aspect of a restaurant! *sigh*