SCARPETTA: Overrated and Overpriced Italian Fare

The name of Scarpetta suggests that one would not waste any morsel of food on a plate by gathering the remnants of leftover sauce with a piece of bread, savouring every last bite. That was not quite the case with my own experience at Thompson Hotel’s Scarpetta (despite their pizza-tasting bread roll being a huge draw). This restaurant was recommended to me by a friend, but I was disappointed with the flavours, as it just didn’t compare to the likes of other neighbouring restaurants, such as Brassaii. Had the food been priced more fairly, it would have stood a chance in my review. So here goes.

THE FOOD (Score: 70%):

STARTERS:

CREAMY POLENTA: fricassee of truffled mushrooms ($15)

Believe it or not, this appetizer was probably the best dish we had all night. It was the first time I’ve had polenta and certainly made me a fan. It tasted similar to creamy mashed potatoes with a gorgeous mushroom sauce.

CRISPY FRITTO MISTO: seafood, vegetables, herbs and lemon ($17)

Lightly seasoned and fried, this dish was a nice surprise at every bite (as you weren’t sure what you were eating exactly… veggies? seafood? what!). I also appreciated how large the portion was.

MAINS:

AGNOLOTTI DAL PLIN: short rib, bone marrow, horseradish, brown butter ($25)

Not very flavourful. Underwhelming. Not much else to say.

BLACK COD: bacala montecato, gaeta olives and concentrated tomatoes ($35)

Probably the best entree of the night. The fish was cooked to perfection and flaked off nicely. Generally well seasoned.

RIB EYE STEAK ($50-$60)

This was the feature special of the night. They should really tell you how much it costs in advance because this definitely wasn’t worth the $50 or $60 imprinted on our bill. It was tender but not particularly flavourful and was nothing special. Just a few vegetables shared the space on this plate. Total let down. I’d rather opt for a $30 steak at The Keg with its famous double baked potato!

ROAST SPRING SADDLE OF LAMB: rosemary lentils with braised shank & cipoline ($41)

Another bland tasting piece of meat. And a few strings of Chinese spinach? Yeah okay…

SIDES:

SPICED MUSHROOMS “SOTT’ OLIO”: hazelnuts and garlic chips ($12)

ABSOLUTELY HORRID!!! DO NOT EVER ORDER THIS!!! It was a tragedy having to eat this uber-sour bed of greens. Why is this even on the menu?!?

DESSERTS:

THREE MILK MASCARPONE CAKE: roasted almond gelato and blood orange cream ($12)

Nice presentation and enjoyable dessert.

AMEDEI CHOCOLATE CAKE: burnt orange-caramel gelato and espresso sauce ($12)

Didn’t particularly like the presentation of smeared chocolate poo haha. The cake was a bit dry and overly sweet, but was still enjoyable for what it was.

THE AMBIENCE (Score: 70%):

The lobby/bar area seemed like it would be a hip and happening place. The dining area seemed pretty typical, although I did like their circular joined booths. There was also an interesting backdrop of curtains where the bathrooms were located.

THE SERVICE (Score: 70%):

Our waiter was average. He wasn’t particularly attentive despite there being few guests in the restaurant to serve on this particular weeknight.

OVERALL IMPRESSION:

Scarpetta didn’t quite live up to its name. The majority of the dishes were bland or just scarring *coughs – Spiced Mushroom Sott’ Olio side dish*. The noteworthy dishes (i.e. Creamy Polenta and Black Cod) were prepared well, but not enough to redeem the whole experience. I would not recommend anyone to dine here for this price.

THE DEATS:

Scarpetta
Dress Code: Business Casual
Our Tab: ~$80/person
Address: 550 Wellington Street West, Toronto, ON M5V 2V8 (located inside the Thompson Toronto Hotel, east of Bathurst St.)
Phone: 416-601-3590
Website: http://www.scottconant.com/restaurants/scarpetta/toronto

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