Posts Tagged With: Scarpetta

Top NYC Pastas

Lincoln StrozzapretiLast update: August 23, 2016

Just a quick note that some of these pastas are seasonal and arent on the menu the entire year, but worth mentioning anyway

Trenette Al Pesto Trapanese at Mercato.

From the port of Genoa sailors brought Trenette al Pesto to Trapani, Sicily where the dish was perfected even further with the addition of almonds.  Homemade chewy dried Trenette cooked to al dente perfection, with almonds, garlic, tomato and basil.  Its fresh, simple, and quite tasty.  I havent seen this dish anywhere else, and at $12, I feel like I negotiated something at the shuk with a simple stare

Mercato Trenette

Fusilli with Octopus and Bone Marrow at Marea

One of two NYC classics on the list, and perhaps the most celebrated pasta in NYC America.  Articles, blog posts, children books (Goodnight Fusilli with Octopus!) have been written about this clasic.  The twisted homemade Fusilli is tossed with the most addictive fresh red sauce you will ever taste, with Sangiovese braised octopus, and bone marrow being the culprits.  A no brainer on this list

Marea Fusilli

Strozzapreti Con Aragosta at Lincoln (top)

One of the best pastas I ever had is on, off, on in the seasonal Lincoln menu.  Calling it simply Strozzapreti with lobster should be punishable by Italian law.  The beautiful Strozzapreti, which most likely were invented when someone envisioned a pasta shape while witnessing a priest being strangled to death (Strozzapreti means priest chokers) are made with lobster coral hence giving them the orange look.  They are mixed with not only sweet chunks of lobster but also lobster and scallop sausages (my favorite part) which is like eating the most glorious chicken skin you can imagine.  The sauce is zesty, light, and the perfect compliment to this delicate dish.  A classic in the making.  Not always on the menu, and preparation may differ based on season.

Black Spaghetti at Babbo

A menu staple at a NYC staple.  How can one go wrong.  I’ve seen Babbo post a picture of this dish on Twitter one day, and the rest as they say, is history.  Squid ink Spaghetti, Rock Shrimp, Spicy Salami Calabrese and Green Chilies.  Its another good example of a fairly dry pasta, that is packed with wonderful flavor and texture.  The Spaghetti has that wonderful sweet inky richness, with that crunchy salami, shrimp, and occasional garlic, like the gift that keeps on giving.  This is one of those dishes that makes you Google recipes when you get home.  Until your mind get intercepted by more Kardashian news.  Apparently Kim already lost 80% of her baby fat.

Babbo Black Spaghetti

Malfadini at Lilia

Choosing a favorite pasta at Lilia is like choosing your favorite current presidential candidate.  But for opposite reasons.  The ‘imperfect’ conveyor belt-like Malfadini is essentially Cacio e Pepe on crack.  Take your average Cacio e Pepe, change the pasta to something with more texture, add sharper cheese like Parmigiano Reggiano, and pink peppercorns, and you essentially got Cacio e Perfect

Lilia Malfadini

Agnolotti del Plin at Pasquale Jones

I dont care if this wintery delicatessen is not on the menu as of this writing.  You should be eating pastas here regardless.  They do have a lovely sounding Tajarin with summer truffles which just adds to the impression that Tim Caspare just knows how to handle those Piedmontese classics.  This is the only del Plin in NYC that stays true to its origin, and would make any Piedmont nonna blush.  Buttery, pillowy, explosive little dumplings, packed with Guinea hen, sage and Pancetta.  PANCETTA!

Pasquale Jones Agnolotti

Uni Mushroom Ramen at Jun-men Ramen

Calling this one Ramen is like calling Maialino’s Cacio e Pepe, Ramen.  Its essentially a nicely crafted, rich, and gorgeous looking pasta.  Mushrooms, salty Pancetta, Porcini butter, truffle oil, noodles, and Uni that gets better and better in quality.  I keep returning to Jun-men for this.

Uni Jun-Men Ramen


Pasta with Crab at Ulivo

If you are scoring at home, or if you are alone (stupid old Baseball joke) we have more than 10 pastas this time.  Which is why I had to remove the “10” from the title.  And while you are alone, you should try this messy beauty by Mercato’s baby sister, otherwise you will find yourself alone in a hurry.  The sauce featuring spicy slow braised stone crab is worth the price alone.  Add an entire meaty stone crab to play with, and its party time.  No one that I know, makes this.

Ulivo Crab Pasta

Spaghetti with Fresh Tomato Sauce and Basil at Scarpetta

Simple isnt it?  Well, why dont you try it, and invite me for a tasting.  Recipes are all over the internet.  Chances are unless you are Scott Conant reading this (sup man) you will not succeed in matching the flavors of this classic.  Its fresh, bright, and utilizes the highest quality raw material.  Scarpetta’s signature dish and the most celebrated Spaghetti with Tomato Sauce and Basil this side of wherever they make the best Spaghetti with Fresh Tomato Sauce and Basil.  Pure awesomeness on every bite.  The smell alone will cause shaky hands, and blurry pictures.  See?

Scarpetta - Spaghetti

Clams Grand Lisboa at Nishi

While polishing up on their policies, and any identity issues, one thing remains constant at Nishi.  Executive chef, Joshua Pinsky dishing out some of the most unique pastas in NYC.  The clams are dressed with Oregano based sauce, sitting on top fried Chow Mein noodles and cabbage.  Calling this Cho Mein almost sounds like an insult to this dish.  Its cooked with apple sauce which gives it this sweet deliciousness you wont find anywhere.  This is David Chang’s favorite dish here and I can see why

Nishi Grand Lisboa Clams

Agnolotti at All’onda

As of this latest update, not on the menu, but All’onda continues to make killa pastas.  This is a tricky one since its not even the most popular pasta at All’onda (that honor goes to the Bucatini or Garganelli), nor the second or third most popular actually.  But in this town, its more unique and interesting to me than the others.  Not your average Agnolotti, nor “Plin”.  They are Mortadella filled with pistachios, and a crazy tasting homemade XO sauce made with dried shrimp, scallops and soppressata.  XO is a sauce that Cognac laden Hong Kong chefs invented in the 80’s, except they forgot to add the key ingredient, Cognac.  This version of the sauce adds a funky aroma, and plenty of depth to otherwise just fine Agnolotti

All'onda Agnolotti

Tonnarelli a Cacio e Pepe at Maialino

Open the drawer in the kitchen where you keep the pens, ribbons and paper clips (just in case that paper clip emergency comes), take a pen and write the ingredients for Tonnarelli Cacio e Pepe… Tonnarelli, Cacio, Pepe!  The Romans like to keep it simple (Carbonara, Gricia).  And when I was in Rome, in a way I was disappointed that I wasnt exactly blown away by all the wonderful Carbonaras and Cacio e Pepes because Maialino quite frankly spoiled it for me.  If you’ve never had this dish before perhaps because “pasta with cheese and pepper” doesnt sound very enticing, now is a good time to have it.

Maialino - Cacio e pepe

Stracci at Osteria Morini

From the one who knocks I bring to you the one dish that you will not find in Emilia Romagna out of that splendid ER inspired menu.  Wonderfully chewy wide ribbon pasta inherits the juices of the succulent braised mushrooms.  I would be happy with just the mushrooms.  It was love at first Stracci at one of my favorite Italians in town

Osteria Morini Stracci

Pasta with White Truffles At ??

Ok for this one you need to do a little bi of homework.  Its white truffle season at the (original) time of this writing and you can enjoy your Tagliatelle, risotto, scrambled eggs, pizza, car keys or anything else you desire with White Truffles from Alba, Tuscany or Umbria.  I know Lincoln, Maialino, Marta have it currently and last year The NoMad (below) offered it at cost.  Its a feast for all senses, especially the nose.  Me?  I’m not touching the stuff this season in this town, as I’m heading to the source, Alba white Truffle festival.  Buon Appetito!  Ciao, Ziggy


Categories: Brooklyn, Chelsea, East Village, Gramercy, Flatiron, Midtown West, New York City, SoHo, NoHo, Nolita, West Village | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Dear Diary: What to order in Scarpetta

Doctor’s Orders.  That’s what I tell people sometimes when they ask me why I’ve started a blog.  My doctor ordered me to start tracking what I eat.  Not entirely true.  My doctor cares more about what I should be snipping than eating.  But the tracking part is true.  I love the fact that I finally found a space where I can write about my eats in sort of an organized fashion, just in case I need to retrieve something.  Like the other day when I took a group of friends to Beso, I  simply looked at the site to see what we liked on our first visit.  Or when someone asked us about our Israel itinerary.  Brilliant!! 🙄

Something tells me I will need to revisit this post in the future.  When my wife and visiting friend from Boston who we shall call Milena, because that’s her name, asked me to order for everyone I was like…(insert angel sound affect).  On my second visit to Scarpetta I felt I perfected the ordering part a little more.  Here’s one way to experience the best of Scarpetta

1st Course:

Scarpetta - Yellowtail

The bread –  Still one of the best bread baskets in NYC, some of which comes from Sullivan Street Bakery I believe.  Stromboli, a nice touch.  This is like a full app and more

Raw Yellowtail  – Wow! New for us this time. Thick buttery goodness with chunky sea salt.  So so good!

Palenta with truffled mushrooms.  Still amazing.  Definitely one of the classics here.  Very creamy, very good, and very grateful my wife does not eat mushrooms.

2nd course:

Scarpetta - SpaghettiScarpetta - Agnolotti

Spaghetti – Its almost silly calling it a signature dish since there are so many great items on the menu. But its definitely delicious and one of the best Spaghetti with red sauce and basil you will ever eat (likely).  The sauce is probably still the best Ive had

Agnolloti – They keep changing the Agnolloti.  This time with bone marrow and short rib.  Last time with rabbit.  But the main difference this time was the breadcrumby crunchy garlic chips. One of my favorite dishes here

3rd course:

Scarpetta - RavioliScarpetta - chicken

Ravioli – Still terrific.  stuffed with duck and Foie Gras with Marsala reduction.  Although enjoyable I got bored with it eventually unlike some of the other dishes.

Roasted Chicken – Wow this was good.  Nice and salty Spaetzle with some very tasty carrots.  Chicken was moist and juicy.  Enjoyed this much more than the cod last time.   Chicken is sort of making a comeback for me in places like this.  Trend started at Louro which delivered big time.

4th Course:

Scarpetta - Banana Bread

Warm Banana Bread –  much better than the previous soupy mess of the coconut pana cotta.  Great stout ice cream.

Chocolate cake – very good

Only problem was wait between courses was far from even and too rushed at times.  They gave us 10 seconds to enjoy the great bread basket before bringing the apps.  And the third course was brought in as soon as they took the plates.

Nevertheless Dear Diary, a perfect meal.  Looking forward to next visit where I try nothing new

Categories: Chelsea, New York City | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

My Top 10 bites of 2012 in NYC

Some of the best eating we’ve done in 2012 was outside of NYC.  Mainly in New Orleans, Israel, and Turks and Caicos.  But there was plenty of eating in our back yard…

Marea – Astice.   Nova Scotia lobster + creamy Burrata, + Eggplant al funghetto + beautiful pesto drops = pure ecstasy in every bite.  I remember the feeling while eating it.  The Spaghetti with crab and fusilli not too shabby either.  Photo below courtesy of bionicgrrrl at BionicbitesMarea - Astice

Zabb Elee – Pad Ped Moo Krob.   Crispy fried and refried pork, green peppercorn, ginger, Thai eggplant and spicy curry.  A lot of heat and a lot flavor
Aldea – Shrimp Alhinho – loved the dish, not the meal.  Large succulent shrimp with a nice complex sauce.  Well done!
Alta – bacon wrapped dates.  Skip the other half of the dish (the olives) and get more of these babies.  Bacon never tasted that good.
Scarpetta – Rabbit Agnolotti – Perfectly cooked rabbit in those pillowy delicate Agnolotti bursting with flavor (silence of the lambs sound)

Roberta’s – Bee sting pizza.  Great tasting pie.  Spicy Sopressata (spicier than other Sopressata I’ve had) and the added honey contributed to interesting contrasting flavors.  Liked it more than Paulie Gee’s similar Delboy.  Or maybe it was the waitressesRoberta's Bee Sting Pizza
Sanrasa – Lamprie.  This Dutch influenced Sri Lankan classic is a piece of art.  Rice, meat, curry, caramelized onions, cashews, all baked wrapped in banana leaf.  What a great dish
Gazala’s Place – Hummus with lamb and pine nuts.  Nuttiest, creamiest, freshest Hummus I’ve had in NYC.Hummus with Lamb and Pine Nuts

Minetta Tavern – Black Label burger.  Best burger we ever had.  50% of it is prime 48 day aged rib eye.

Danji – Chicken wings.  This gourmet Korean tapas joint serves some mean chicken wings.  Cant wait to have them again.Danji

Categories: New York City | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

More Ratatouille Moments at Scarpetta

I have mentioned this phrase before.  Ratatouille moment.  What is a Ratatouille moment Ziggy? Well, I’m glad you asked Timmy.  A Ratatouille moment derives from the movie “Ratatouille” and the moment is when the tough, ugly, mean, hard to please critic takes that mega important bite of the Ratatouille.  Well, you can see for yourself

For me Ratatouille moments are a bit different.   They are not really about me reminiscing about something I ate as a kid.  Although I did have Bacalau in Portugal that reminded me of some awful Gifilte fish I had as a kid.  That would be the opposite of a Ratatouille moment I suppose.  After the 10th Gefilte fish I was the youngest member of our city to file for a restraining order against his parents.  And as far as Bacalau in Portugal goes, they say they can make it in 365 different ways for every day of the week.  We must have picked the 2 worst days.  The 2 ways they invented in days 364 and 365, well after they ran out of ideas and just focused on completing the cycle.  But I digress.
Scarpetta, tied with Marea for the meal of the year, gave us some “Moments”…
We started with a stunner.  Without a doubt the most impressive bread basket I have ever seen.  It included a Focaccia, a Stromboli (mozzarella and salami sandwich) among other goodies.  And it comes with 3 great condiments, a great tasting butter, eggplant salad and olive oil.  What a start.  After nibbling on some nice apps like the ribs, Mozzarella, and the Farmers Market with truffles, the monsters have arrived.

Creamy Polenta with truffled mushrooms – Fantastic! creamy and light polenta with those savory mushrooms took me back to Enoteca Valpolicella in Italy’s Valpolicella wine country.   I was counting the blessings of being married to a family that did not like mushrooms which includes my wife, her sister and her mom.

Polenta at Scarpetta

Cavatelli Capretto – Melt in your mouth, juicy tender Capretto. Some in our party claimed this was their favorite.

Rabbit Agnolotti – This was a personal favorite.  Nice perfectly cooked rabbit in those pillowy delicate mini raviolis bursting with flavor. Couldnt get enough of this.

Spaghetti with tomato & basil – This is one of Scott Conant’s signatures and the most famous Spaghetti with red sauce dish in NYC. Homemade fresh pasta with the most amazing tomato sauce I ever tasted. Another one I couldnt get enough of.  Reminded me of a simple pasta I had once in Varenna.

Spaghetti at Scarpetta

Duck & Foie Gras Ravioli with marsala reduction – Spectacular looking and spectacular tasting. All kinds of nice contrasting flavors packed in this one. Another must

Duck & Foie Gras Ravioli at Scarpetta

We could have stopped right there but we didnt.  What followed was a much less memorable cod, and a finish of an odd coconut Panna Cotta which had a soupy texture that I did not care for.  The Hummus Whisperer had the Sheep’s milk Ricotta from Lazio with honey which seemed like a better choice

Generally I favor the places that have a signature dish like the Spaghetti in this case.   But I especially favor places that offer many other options that are equally as good.  The experience was less perfect for my wife and her sister who will be quick to note the cramped space (for the 8 of us) and less than stellar service.  And normally I would be quick to note the same.  But when you are in one of those moments, any flaws are not only quickly forgotten, they get ridiculed


Categories: Chelsea, New York City | Tags: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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