|Peeking into the entrance of Scarpetta, the restaurant looks like it may just|
be bar with a few tables but hidden beyond is the main dining
room overlooking the Bellagio's lake and fountains.
|The main dining past 11pm. A few guests remained but including myself|
but I was never felt rushed to finish my last dish.
(above photos: TheHopefulTraveler)
Italian food is one of my favorites and so Scarpetta from Chef Scott Conant was my destination. One can be intimidated by unfamiliar Italian words in a menu and unusual preparation or ingredients or by the well dressed diners sipping glasses of wine and staff who feel they know more about all cuisines than you do. So it's a credit to the hostess and wait staff at Scarpetta that they eased me into a comfortable experience to enjoy what I came here for: the food.
The hostess asked if I was a guest of The Cosmopolitan, which I was, and found me a table with a view of the Bellagio. I ordered the Signature Tasting Menu ($110) which cured my indecisiveness. Though the tasting would be comprised of six dishes according to the number of selections, by evening end it appeared I tackled an undertaking of ten if you include the excellent bread of dipping sauces and a couple of extra plates offered by chef. But it was the best way to savor the array of Conant's signature dishes across the menu.
A selection of Italian breads (Filone, Ciabattini, Rosemary Focaccia and Stromboli) served with Mascarpone Butter, Citrus Olive Oil and Eggplant Capunata. The breads could have been a meal in themselves especially with the hearty capunata of chopped eggplant in a sweet and sour sauce.
A duo of Raw Yellowtail in olio di zenzero and pickled red onion and Tuna 'Susci' with marinated vegetables and preserved truffles. The fresh taste of the yellowtail melts in your mouth while the tuna is the perfectly paired appetizer.
Crispy Fritto Misto is comprised of layers of tender squid, vegetables, artichokes, herbs and lemon. It's crispy exterior reveals a sweet and tender seafood that lacks oily characteristics one would expect.
Creamy polenta with a fricassee of truffled mushrooms. A signature dish that will leave you wanting more of it.
The remains of the Roasted Sea Scallops, Truffled White Asparagus, Pink Grapefruit and Uni Aioli. I love scallops especially in this well executed dish.
Spaghetti with tomato and basil. It's all about the pasta which is made fresh daily at Scarpetta. Delicious simplicity.
Short Rib Agnolotti with brown butter horseradish and toasted breadcrumb. One of the best pasta dishes I've ever tasted. The crispy topping melded perfectly with the creamy sauce and savory pasta stuffing.
A flaky and bold Fennel Spiced Black Cod with concentrated tomatoes and black olive oil followed next.
Spiced Duck Breast with endive, preserved orange and cippollini onions. Thick pieces of excellently prepared duck which I would have preferred with a bit more sauce.
Amedei Chocolate Cake, Toasted Almond Gelato and Salted Caramel Sauce. A rich chocolate doughnut balance by the delicious gelato and sauce made for a decadent end to a wonderful dinner.
I have to admit I was dazzled by the presentation of every plate and I love how multiple servers proudly present and describe each dish. Leaving the restaurant I'm still thinking about the agnolotti. I could have taken a plate to go. But it's a reason to return to Scarpetta.
On the name 'Scarpetta': An Italian expression meaning 'little shoe' (or the shape bread takes when used to soak up a dish) that represents the pure pleasure of savoring a meal down to the very last taste.
The restaurant was dimmed for dinner and every table tonight was in use for most of my evening here. The long narrow dining room and bar feels cozy without being cramped. The atmosphere feels like a sleek modern restaurant transplanted from New York city if it weren't for the massive Bellagio marquee outside as a reminder of your true location. Prime tables have an unobstructed view of the Bellagio's lake and fountain show.
Click HERE to view the menu. Visit scottconant.com for more information. Scarpetta is located on the third level of The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas resort. Hours: daily 6pm-11pm. Additional Scarpetta restaurants located in Beverly Hills, Toronto, New York and Miami Beach.
About Chef Scott Conant: He has appeared as a guest judge on the Food Network's "Chopped" and in various seasons of Bravo's "Top Chef." One of New York's most beloved and respected chefs through his deft touch and unwavering passion to create food that is unexpected and soulful. Rave critical reviews and enthusiastic following for Scarpetta in New York and Miami has established him as one of the country's preeminent Italian chefs. He also brings to The Cosmopolitan a second restaurant and wine bar called D.O.C.G.
|"Scarpetta" means "little shoe" or the shape break takes when used to|
soak up a dish.
|Scarpetta's dining room has a cozy yet big city feel.|
|The restaurant's bar serves as the hallway to the dining room.|
|Guests seated by the window have a view of the Bellagio hotel tower...|
|....or a view of the Bellagio lake...|
|....or a view of the Bellagio marquee.|
(above photos: TheHopefulTraveler)