Beverly Hills, CA 90210
Neighborhood: Beverly Hills
Our last trip to New York City during the 2009 holiday season involved endless hours of "food" research with extra attention given to Italian. A reservation at Babbo had always escaped me, so we had to get that in. Leaning on the warm compliments of Frank Bruni, Convivio and Scarpetta were next on the top of our list. Convivio or Scarpetta? Some chowhounders praised Convivio, while an equal representation supported Scarpetta. We also couldn't ignore the strong write-in votes for Marea. Unfortunately, Scarpetta was squeezed out and would have to wait for another trip to the Big Apple, or would it?
Fast forward ten months and my girlfriend reads about the Scarpetta expansion to the Montage Hotel in Beverly Hills and insists we try it early while Scott Conant is hopefully in the kitchen.
Following Eater LA's coverage, I note there is a chef's counter and we call repeatedly to request a seat at the counter. With all the confusion and pressure of opening a restaurant, they still don't know exactly how they are going to utilize the counter space. After several calls to the restaurant, we finally get in touch with the Montage's catering manager and they allow us to sit there and what an unbelievable experience it turned out to be.
As we walk into what is the grandest kitchen we have set foot in, the staff of about 15 are hard at work and dressed in white uniforms, with the exception of chef Conant. He opts for a more casual attire with comfortable blue jeans and a black button up dress shirt. I would assume the black shirt works for the numerous photo ops guests are requesting at the conclusion of each meal.
We take our seats at the most exclusive table in the restaurant. It has full view of all the stations and the private dining room is in back of us. Shortly after, the chef with one of the most reputable Italian resumes in the country stops by and introduces himself as Scott. He asks if we would like him to set a menu for us and we kindly decline. We have something different in mind, we want every pasta dish this kitchen can produce.
So, now all that's left to do is sit back and enjoy the dinner and a show.
|Bread basket (8)|
RAW YELLOWTAIL olio di zenzero, pickled red onion (7)
TUNA ‘SUSCI’ marinated vegetables, preserved truffles (7)
BEEF TARTARE hazelnuts, truffles & shaved parmigiano (9)
PUREE OF PUMPKIN SOUP farro, almonds, spiced croutons, pumpkin oil (8)
CREAMY POLENTA fricassee of truffled mushrooms (10)
Chef starts his magic
'Death by Pasta'
PASTA WITH CAVIAR housemade fussili, caviar & chives (5)
SPELT PASTA pumpkin & porcini (7)
BEET & SMOKED RICOTTA CASONSEI pistachio nuts, poppy seeds (9)
BICERIN frangelica ganache, espresso & cream
HAZELNUT SEMIFREDDO chocolate sorbet & hazelnut tuile (3)