Scarpetta Beverly Hills
Montage Beverly Hills
225 North Canon Dr.
Beverly Hills, CA 90210
Dining date: 9/25/11
I haven’t been back to Scarpetta since the opening night truffle tasting dinner last October, one of my most memorable meals last year. It’s not that I didn’t want to, but there have been so many other dining options as distractions. So, when my parents came to town and wanted to try their brunch, it was an opportune time to come back.
The brunch is served buffet-style, $68 including non-alcoholic drinks. Not cheap, but it’s a nice restaurant in a nice hotel. The food options feature a few dishes that can regularly be found on Scarpetta’s dinner menu, as well as a whole range of what I’d call standard brunch fare. Representing Scarpetta were a couple of crudo dishes and a couple of pastas, including the famed spaghetti. Other brunch items varied from breads and salads to omelettes and waffles, to a seafood and sushi bar, and a carving station featuring prime rib and leg of lamb.
For my stomach space, I focused in on the pastas, meats and seafood. There’s no way I’m filling up on pancakes or waffles when it could be prime rib, crab claws or spaghetti…but that’s just me.
Live music, a nice touch.
Assorted Breads and Pastries
Caramelized Cauliflower toasted almonds, fried capers
Grilled Asparagus parmigiano, hazelnuts
Grilled Zucchini hard boiled eggs, gremolata breadcrumbs
Fagolini & Potatoes pickled onions
Roasted Beets ricotta salata, pistachios
Marinated Mushrooms thyme, toasted fennel salad
Mixed Green Salad oregano vinaigrette
Citrus Cured Salmon lemon, dill, horseradish
Tuna “Susci” lemon, olive oil
Shellfish: Kumiai oysters, Snow crab legs, Shrimp cocktail
Assorted Italian Meats
Customized Omelette Station
Macaroni & Cheese
Spaghetti tomato & basil
Ricotta Ravolini baby stewed tomatoes
Prime Rib barolo reduction & horseradish
Leg of Lamb minted salsa verde
I started in on the cold dishes first – the crudo, sushi and seafood. I thought the crudo and seafood were both good, while the sushi was unmemorable (my first sushi at an Italian restaurant?). I particularly enjoyed the crab claws – big, meaty and sweet. Between the two crudo I might’ve preferred the citrusy salmon, but they were both good.
My mom started with a customized omelette as well as some of the cold dishes.
I went for a “pasta course” next. The pastas were made frequently in small batches (approx. every 5 minutes) so as to keep them fresh at all times. I swear I heard “Fire spaghetti!” every time I walked into the kitchen. I thought the spaghetti was pretty close to what I remember for dinner service, which I was happy about. Like the carving station, the pasta station was constantly manned by a chef for quality control. I’ve never had the ravolini for dinner before. I found the pasta itself to be nice, but the sauce to be very runny.
My next plate went in for some meats, more seafood and a few miscellaneous brunch items. I requested medium-rare for both meats and got it, and I thought they were both done well. The other items on my plate were mediocre – dry, bland sausage and soggy French fries.
Back for more spaghetti.
An impressive array of desserts were on offer from Montage Pastry chef Richard Ruskell, some of which I was able to try at The Taste. Really liked the variety here, and everything was sized to sample.
No way can I recall everything, but we were able to make a (very) small dent into the offerings. If a to-go bag was an option, I would’ve gone to town here. Unfortunately, I was running short on room in my stomach.
My mom’s plate: bombolini, cookies, fruit tart and a panna cotta.
I went for three desserts in a glass, from left to right: salted caramel budino, tiramisu and a spicy chocolate pudding with tapioca. I was quite pleased by all three of these, with my favorite probably being the tiramisu.
My dad opted for more chocolate-based desserts including a tart, layered cake, cookies and a yuzu meringue tart.
Scarpetta’s brunch was good, but not great. For $68 I was expecting a little bit more, especially since the price doesn’t include any alcohol. Going in, I thought this would be a good way to get a taste of Scarpetta in a more casual setting, but it’s a very different experience. I felt this was more like “Brunch at the Montage” rather than “Brunch at Scarpetta” as the restaurant’s representation was less than I anticipated. The dishes unique to Scarpetta were very solid; I just wish there were more. The menu online, as well as previous reviews, had additional offerings (whole-roasted branzino, yellowtail crudo) so I was disappointed to see they may have cut back. It’s unfortunate since I’ve experienced first-hand that this restaurant has much more to offer. I’ll surely be back, but I’m sticking to dinner.