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Scarpetta Gets Fresh Blood In The Kitchen, Menu Revamp

Aug 17, 2018 | 10:00 Fri
Photos: Brandon McGhee
Italian restaurant Scarpetta hired a new chef back at the beginning of the year, and the results are starting to come in. Patrick Leano and owner John Liu have been on a ruthless quest to pare back their menu since teaming up in January. Not to pare back the number of dishes, mind you. No, what they are doing is a radical stripping back of their dishes to their core elements, trying to intensify flavors, and make every dish a showstopper. Are they successful?

I went down to the trattoria the other night to see, at Liu’s invitation. What I found was a series of dishes with singular, intense flavors, verging on the border of being overly rich. They were delicious. The stand-outs were a highly concentrated pork and beef ragu with handmade orecchiette, pushed into decadence with a generous slab of bone marrow; and a wholly unexpected pizza made with fresh burrata and ricotta cheeses and covered in avocados. It’s a play on avocado toast, and an ode to the old Kota’s Kitchen izakaya, which introduced Liu to the idea of cooking an avocado, and while perhaps not the first thing you’d crave when thinking of pizza, is nonetheless a delicious way to combine charred dough, cheese and avocados. The rest were just as nice, but didn’t leave as strong an impression as those two. I’ll let pictures speak for the remainder.

Beef tongue & grilled leeks, whole-grain mustard dijonaise, 128rmb

Wagyu beef carpaccio, black truffle aioli, pickled mushroom, baby arugula, 178rmb

Bone marrow, orecchiette, beef & pork tomato ragu, beef jus, braised short rib, gremolata, 168rmb

Vongole & vongole pizza, 158rmb

Avocado & burrata pizza, lemon infused olive oil, ricotta, sea salt

The new dishes are on the current menu, though it will be updated in full in the coming weeks, as Leano and Liu finalize their rounds of testing. In the meantime, if you’re craving something different from the typical Italian fare, Scarpetta might be an option.


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