Thursday, January 19, 2017

Scarpetto (Philadelphia) 01/2017

The restaurant area for Scarpetto occupies a ground floor bar and lounge area and the space that used to be the Lacrois restaurant (Smith & Wollensky) on the first floor of The Rittenhouse Hotel, a very upmarket establishment on Rittenhouse Square, directly across from Claridges. 
They now concentrate on Italian based fine dining. The restaurant space looks over the square, which is attractive, night or day, in all seasons. Tables are a good size but fairly close together. Perhaps because of the ethnic nature of most of the clients the place was rather noisy. 
Our Italian server, probably the major domo, was extremely enthusiastic about the food and the chef's ability to prepare it as requested.
Bread came early, always a problem for me because it's so moorish, offered with whipped butter, olive oil or a relish.
For an appetizer I chose Diver Scallop, preserved truffle, pea and allepo, which is a sort of pepper.
I was astonished at how incredible this simple dish was. The truffle was obvious but not overwhelming, the sliced scallop sweet and delicate.

This is not just a go to dish, it's a go to Philadelphia dish
Sandra drooled over her creamy polenta, fricasee of truffled mushrooms. It was creamy, buttery, smooth and just right for taste. Both $19
Unusually they had Sandra's favourite Moscato D'Asti which cost about the same for a 150 ml glass as a bottle of the stuff from Dan Murphy!
For my next course I had their house made paparadelle with rabbit.

It's a rarity to get pasta that is this good. I don't want to rave but the texture was excellent. The taste comes from the ingredients. Flavours were gentle and balanced and there was plenty of rabbit too.
Despite their best efforts Sandra's hake was just a fraction over cooked. Why chefs have so much trouble getting fish right defies me.
Regardless of this minor faultit was thoroughly enjoyable.
Dessert was not over tricked up, Cheese cake, poached pear, a kittle under cooked, vanilla bean ice cream and a stick of merengue.

Score:16 /20

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