Montage Beverly Hills
225 North Canon Dr.
Beverly Hills, CA 90210
Dining date: 10/13/11
This was my first visit back for dinner since my truffle-laden opening night experience (though I did visit for brunch last month). This meal would be a lot different, for sure, as DineLA brought me back. The menu looked promising with both the polenta and spaghetti offered, though I was disappointed to see the spaghetti as an entree offering (I could’ve sworn it was originally an appetizer when the menu first came out). 5 appetizers, 4 entrees and 3 dessert choices were available at a set $44. I went for the polenta, branzino and panna cotta, and was also able to sneak some bites of a few other dishes.
Bread service was pretty good with a variety of breads and accoutrements including an eggplant caponata, marscapone butter, and a citrus-infused olive oil.
As far as the breads go, the most interesting was this hearty stromboli with salami and cheese.
Onto the first courses:
CREAMY POLENTA fricassee of truffled mushrooms
Not quite as decadent as the white truffle-laden version I had last time, it was still a very delicious dish. The polenta was tasty on its own; warm and comforting, light and creamy. So rich, clearly there was a generous amount of cheese and/or butter in here. The mushrooms added an earthy depth of flavor that really went well. I tasted no truffle flavor as advertised, though.
PUREE OF EGGPLANT SOUP sicilian spiced lamb ragu, baby tomatoes & ricotta dumplings
Puree of eggplant. Interesting. Not something I would typically order, but I got a chance to try someone else’s. Pretty good actually, the lamb really added a savory richness to the dish.
SPAGHETTI tomato & basil
The classic. I’ve had this in each of my previous visits so I didn’t order it again, opting for the branzino instead. I think everyone enjoyed it though.
GRILLED MEDITERRANEAN BRANZINO saffron-cipollini puree, fresh ceci beans, calamari & tomato marmalade
I liked the crispy charred skin; it had a subtle smokiness that I thought went well with the moist flesh. The squid added some chewy texture, while I thought the tomato added a welcome light acidity. The saffron-cipollini puree provided a little bit of savory sweetness.
ORGANIC ROASTED CHICKEN kabocha squash puree, caramelized cabbage, fegato & parmigiano emulsion
SHORT RIB AGNOLOTTI garlic chips, toasted breadcrumbs & horseradish
A well-made pasta, this one was al dente but felt very delicate. The short rib was a pretty meaty filling, while the breadcrumbs added some subtle texture.
VANILLA CARAMEL BUDINO gianduja chocolate sable cookies
COCONUT PANNA COTTA guava soup & caramelized pineapple
I thought this was excellent. The coconut flavors were clear and pronounced in the ice cream and light panna cotta, while the guava soup provided a complementary fruit flavor. The pineapple added more fruit and sweetness, without making this dessert overly sweet. Everything came together so well.
A second visit to Scarpetta for dinner was a good one. Clearly, much better than my brunch visit a month ago. Though this meal wasn’t quite as interesting and unique as the first visit, it wasn’t trying to be. The food was actually more comforting and somewhat homey…the polenta and spaghetti were clearly in that boat. Most importantly, I found the food to be well-executed and quite tasty. Is it my favorite Italian restaurant in LA? Quite possibly (though I still need to visit a few other spots, Angelini Osteria being one of them).