On our last Friday night in New York, we met up with Ishita and Brian at Scarpetta, Scott Conant’s successful Meatpacking District eatery, at which I was the only first-timer among the four of us.  To make matters better, though, Ishita also happens to a big deal around those parts, having collaborated with Chef Conant at a number of events – all to say, I wasn’t leading the charge on the menu, but rather just sitting back and enjoying the bounties that came our way.  A nice change, and a good reminder that I’ve (successfully) surrounded myself with people who are almost as passionate and arguably as knowledgeable about food as I am.

For appetizers, we ordered the creamy polenta (with fricassee of truffled mushrooms), fritto misto, and seared scallop, and received a few extra appetizers on the house: ricotta dumplings and raw yellowtail with sea salt.

I’m a bit of a sucker for the texture mix of fresh raw fish sprinkled with flakes of sea salt – or rather, flakes of sea salt on almost anything, really.  And while the picture above only shows the mushrooms on top, the polenta below was an amazingly creamy underbelly, a savory rich pudding.  While the calamari itself didn’t particularly stand out, fried herbs and especially slices of lemon are slowly climbing my list of cravings.

Our mains were mostly pastas, while Brian got a pancetta-wrapped pork loin (with quince puree).  Spaghetti seems like a brow-raising choice, but I wanted to see what was special about Chef Conant’s version (plus, I asked for a dollop of burrata alongside it, as a sort of insurance policy).  Myra ordered the seafood ragout black tagliolini and Ishita the short rib agnolotti.

The spaghetti was quite tasty, despite its relative minimalism, the noodles springy and buttery, the sauce fragrant and charged with basil.  Perhaps I wouldn’t have liked it as much without the bowl of sea-salted burrata beside it, though, and after tasting the other mains, I preferred Myra’s tagliolini.  It had a robust flavor, as one would expect from seafood ragout, and good textural variety.  My one bite of agnolotti was excellent as well, potently beefy, but I’m glad I only had one bite.

For dessert: amadei chocolate cake, a pumpkin dessert whose exact components escape me, and black mission figs.  We’d grossly oversaturated ourselves at this point, so dessert was hard to process mentally (and physically), so these bites all blended together like a hazy opiate-fueled daze of chocolate and gelatos.   I think we were most impressed with the pumpkin one, but don’t hold me to that.

A delicious meal, all in all, with many poetry-slam snaps of appreciation to Ishita for her NYC restaurant scene connections.

355 West 14th Street  New York, NY 10014

Scarpetta on Urbanspoon