A Review of Scarpetta at the Fountainebleau

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Tonight was 1950's night and a light dinner at the new Scarpetta restaurant at the Fountainebleau. The saying "Be careful what you wish for" turned tragically true.

My friend, Cecilia Paz, and I decided to catch up over a light dinner and drinks at the reenergized Fountainebleau Hotel on 44th and Collins Avenue. If you will recall the Fountainebleau starlet hotel of the 1950's reopened last fall after a multimillion dollar renovation.

The entrance seduced me with a glittering black and white mosaic tiled entrance. From a distance it appeared the restaurant was following the theme of the black and white TV era of the 1950's. The hostess stand was not a luxuriant, chiffon draped material but thick wound, ship rope. As our hostess lead us to our table, we soon caught on to the nautical theme--rich wood with black, white and silver accents.

To begin, the menu was limited which caught me by surprise. Leaning toward a "light meal" (as I had a large plate for a late lunch), I debated between a pasta main entree or protein appetizer. My eye caught the duck foi gras ravioli. I don't think my palette has ever melded these two favorites. Since I had enjoyed a healthy serving of lobster ravioli with a tomato and pamesan sauce at lunch, I opted for the "Short Ribs with Risotto" appetizer.

Cecilia ordered the spaghetti with tomatoe sauce as a main entree. So we started with the bread basket which was the highlight of our meal--a potpourri of warm and room-temperature artesan bread and others with ham coiled inside.

Surprisingly, my appetizer was a meager three bites full. While I realize upscale restaurants may choose to serve French- style smaller servings, my portion would barely feed a rabbit. On a positive note, the ribs and dry risotto were a delectable balance and blend, but still a teaser. Price: $15.00

Next, the spaghetti. Cecilia's rating of the food fared worse than mine. While the food was tasty, she compared it to "Marie Calendar's frozen spaghetti with good seasonings". The appearance reminded us of grandma's thick-noodle spaghetti with Ragu. At least the portion was more filling and left plenty of room for seconds or dessert. We skipped the latter and ordered a second basket of bread.

Eyeing the older couple next to us, we noticed they each ordered appetizer, main entree and dessert. The advantage of small portions is obvious. One can enjoy a full course meal and not worry about cheating on their diet. However, the prices were overly set for the meager portions in my opinion.

Actually I would return to Scarpetta, but by invitation only. A sensible "value" is my requisite to return on my own.

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