First Taste: Scarpetta


I first fell in love with Scott Conant’s spaghetti with tomato sauce when he was the young chef at Chianti. I couldn’t get enough of it when he was at L’Impero. So when I walked into his latest restaurant, Scarpetta, I was thrilled to find that the chewy, handmade pasta with that dense, fruity sauce was on the menu. Conant’s easygoing Italian food is extremely likeable, and it’s found a fine new home in this elegantly understated space with a roof that rolls back to reveal the sky.

Meals begin with a big basket of breads served with mascarpone butter, olive oil, and a caponata so good you can’t help scooping it up with a spoon. Appetizers include bean soups, a few kinds of raw fish (remember Bar Tonno?) and a fine fritto misto. Among the pastas are duck- and foie-gras-filled ravioli and elegant little agnolloti del plin. And Conant has placed his signature roasted capretto among the entrées. It’s all lovely stuff—but it’s that spaghetti with tomato sauce that you’ll yearn to come back for.

Scarpetta 355 W. 14th St., New York, NY (212-691-0555)

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