Miami Spice at Scarpetta: Full of Pleasant Surprises
In 2008 something happened at Miami's most iconic resort property. LIV opened its doors at the Fontainebleau, changing the club scene in Miami forever. Girls in stiletto heels and spaghetti straps began to flood the lobby multiple times a week, making the ancient hotel coveted for many reasons. Beyond the superficial though, and through the corridor at the other end, one could find a different form of spaghetti. One with substance, and a whole lotta fat -- the good kind.
All photos by Carla Torres Scott Conant still continues to surprise guests
Scott Conant opened two Scarpetta's - New York and Miami - in 2008. Both achieved equally outstanding reviews. Five years later, the restaurant in the subtropics remains strong, with many of the traditional staples and classic Italian dishes still predominant on the menu. And what's impressive to us is that most of these dishes are on to the restaurant's Miami Spice menu and on our list as well. Haven't been to Scarpetta before? You might not want to see the pictures that follow then, at least until you make a reservation.
See also: Italian Soul Food Simmers at Scarpetta
You can only expect the best from a restaurant of this stature from the moment you walk in till the moment you leave. It starts with the decor, extends to the service, personal sommelier, and food that tastes like it was made specifically for you. And it ends with a discounted valet.
The promotion costs $39 a person and begins with endless bread baskets of house-made strombol filled with smoked salami and cheese, served alongside a trio of decadent spreads -- mascarpone butter, eggplant caponata, and extra virgin olive oil.
Stankovik Zarko, the sommelier at Scarpetta, has round 20 years in experience. That's a lot of wine drinking. He tells us he samples about 45 different wines a day. Seems like a lot, right? Not really, at least for a restaurant that has a 600-count selection of grape varietals. For Spice, Zarko has put together two flights - one classic or "classico" and one reserve or "reserve" for fancy. Each features three 3 ounce wines, intended to completely compliment your meal. We personally preferred the classic flight over the reserve. Not only is it more inexpensive (classic is a $20 surcharge per person while reserve is $30), but it's less dry and a bit fruitier.
Three-hour braised short ribs sit on a bed of vegetable and farro risotto. Also available is a pancetta spiced mackerel with fennel and citrus or seared scallops ($5 surcharge) with corn, morcilla and shaved radishes. Or ....