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Stromboli, Polenta and Spaghetti in Beverly Hills? Only at Scarpetta at The Montage

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  Site Where: 225 North Canon Drive [map], Beverly Hills, CA, United States, 90210
November 17, 2010 at 4:21 PM | by | Comment (1)

If you were following our tweets on Monday night, then you will know we were dining at the just-opened Scarpetta at the Montage Beverly Hills. But we weren't just hoping for a "Real Housewife" sighting, we were, in all honesty, doing some important research.

See, we were rather anxious to try this restaurant out for a few reasons. Scarpetta has been on a bit of an expansion tear from Chef Scott Conant's original outpost in downtown Manhattan, having opened in The Fontainebleau in Miami and the Thompson Toronto.

While the restaurant was also set for The Fontainebleau Las Vegas, the economy squashed those plans so Scarpetta quickly found a new home at the upcoming Cosmopolitan, opening December 15. Since the restaurant is becoming a bit of darling of the hotel world, we needed to experience it for ourselves.

Lastly, having dined at the Montage's old restaurant, Parq, last year, we were eager to see how this new restaurant was doing.

The moment we walked into the restaurant, things looked and felt very different.

The banquettes along the far wall had been removed and in their place were circular, free-standing tables for larger groups while proper square tables had been placed in the center of the room as well as along the windows. The restaurant had even added an outdoor dining section looking out over the small but lush Beverly Canon park (as well as Bouchon.)

The overall decor of the room was darkened a touch with dark wood floors and sparser lighting while the flowing white curtains which stretched high up the walls added some serious drama to the room.

Now onto the food. To start, Scarpetta serves a bread basket that carb-slaps any other bread basket you have ever had, thanks to its stromboli bread made with salami, mozzarella, basil and cherry tomatoes.

For our main meal, we opted for two of Scarpetta's signature dishes--the creamy polenta ($16) topped with truffled mushrooms and the spaghetti ($26) made with tomato and basil. The latter was cooked to perfection and actually tasted far better than it sounds (after all, a simple spaghetti dish is not usually an exciting menu option). The sauce was ever so slightly creamy, mixed with a touch of cheese and the pasta was cooked perfectly al dente. But we'd be lying if we didn't say we wanted another order of that heavenly polenta.

Sadly, we couldn't stay for dessert but the hotel's new general manager Hermman Elger (who just joined the hotel six weeks ago) said the cheese plate is one of the best and the restaurant's manager Dean Tsakanikas also recommended the raw yellowtail and tuna "scusi" appetizers. And if you want wine to go with your pasta (or any of the lesser-priced primi piatti), the restaurant has a nice, varied wine list, including a rare 1982 Chateau Lafite Rothschild for a mere $4,820.

When we left at 9:45pm, the place was still happening and this was a Monday night. Over the course of our meal, people without reservations waited up to 45 minutes for a table. If this happens to you, we say just find a seat in the adjacent bar which serves up the full Scarpetta menu with a slight twist on the appetizers.

The only disconnect we felt was between the food and the room. While more dramatic and far sexier than the old Parq (which catered more to hotel guests than Beverly Hills at large), the room seemed almost too grandiose for this simple, Italian comfort food that we were eating. We're not saying that we would have liked to have been cramped next to other tables like they do in NYC but maybe adding just a few more tables would add more warmth.

Scarpetta serves lunch daily from 11:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.; and dinner Sunday through Thursday from 5:30 p.m. to 11:00 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 5:30 p.m. to midnight. Valet parking is available on Canon Drive for $8. HotelChatter was a guest of the hotel for this meal but all views expressed are our own.

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my dishes

i just wanted to chime in that my pumpkin puree soup with farro and hazelnuts, and the agnolotti were both quite good as well!

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