Archive for the ‘Scarpetta’ Tag

A Tale of Two Servers   2 comments

redbird sign I recently returned to enjoy dinner at Scarpetta in Bevery Hills. It was as good as I remembered, although I think one element was even better: the service.

Our server, Christian, enhanced our meal with his knowledge of the menu and attentiveness. He knew the ingredients, the preparation and offered to make changes if needed.

The next evening we dined at Redbird, the new restaurant in what was once the rectory of St. Vibiana’s in downtown Los Angeles. The press about chef/partner Neal Fraser’s new digs has made getting a reservation feel like winning the lottery. However, thanks to the service, we didn’t feel victorious.

redbird vibiana

Our questions about the menu were answered by our (nameless) server rote-style stating what we could read for ourselves. A few items were unknown and he did fill in those gaps, but without the passion Christian radiated at Scarpetta.

I ordered Ora King Salmon served with roasted beets, farro verde and pomegranate. The fish featured the most beautifully-crisped skin I’ve ever tasted. However, the farro was ripe with the distinct infusion of goat cheese. Had I known, I would have made another choice or at least requested a different side dish. Half the fish and beets were gone by the time our server returned to check on us. It was evident I wasn’t eating the farro.

I inquired about the offending ingredient and the server needed to check with the kitchen. He returned praising my discerning palette — admittedly, it wasn’t much of a stretch. I continued to enjoy the fish, which, again, was cooked to perfection. A manager offered apologies, explaining that  staff is trained to ask about dietary restrictions. My dislike of goat cheese is based on personal preference; I can’t, in good conscience, call it a restriction. At that point it appeared it was my fault for not informing the server of my aversion. Even if I had, he hadn’t been aware of its presence. I was offered another side, but at this point my entrée was nearly consumed.

redbirdfish

A friend suggested a complimentary dessert. That didn’t happen. Instead, the farro was boxed up for me to take home. I’m confident Christian would have handled things much differently.

Scarpetta                                                                                                                                                                                 Redbird

225 N. Canon Dr.                                                                                                                                                                  114 E. 2nd St.

Beverly Hills                                                                                                                                                                           Los Angeles

In the Chef’s Hands   Leave a comment

Although I know the difference between good manners and bad, I wanted to throw
that wisdom out the door at Scarpetta. I enjoyed an early birthday present from
my mother and a dear friend where we ordered the four course tasting menu. I want-
ed to lick each plate clean after every single serving, but etiquette prevailed.

With the tasting menu we put ourselves at the chef’s mercy – and generosity. To be-
gin: Crudo of Sashimi and Yellowtail with ginger oil. Both sang in my mouth. A prawn-
stuffed, deep-fried Zucchini Blossom followed. We received two extra courses. The
first, a plate of Braised Short Ribs served on a bed of farro. The tender meat was smooth
as butter on a warm day. Scarpetta is known for its Spaghetti, which was served next.
It sounds pedestrian; yet, with a sauce of reduced fresh tomatoes and basil, this was
perhaps the most perfect al dente pasta I’ve eaten.

While enjoying the spaghetti, a server brought another extra, Agnotti. These small pasta
pouches were stuffed with reduced short rib marrow and drizzled with browned butter.
At this point it might seem the entrée would have been overkill, but it wasn’t. Black Cod
over roasted fennel and tomato was another taste spectacular.

Perhaps having dessert was too much, but it was wonderfully over the top. An assort-
ment of flavors and textures arrived on one plate featuring Caramel Budino, Pineapple
Panna Cotta, Chocolate Molten Cake, and Hazlenut Gelato.

I was sated and too well-mannered to moan in delight.

Scarpetta
Five Plates
225 N. Canon Dr.
Beverly Hills, CA