Monday, August 20, 2012

Scarpetta with Chef Scott Conant & Guest Chef Michael Chiarello

from LAFW website:
Legendary NY chef Scott Conant's west coast d├ębut, Scarpetta, has foodies in LA buzzing. Located in the glamorous Montage Beverly Hills, this Italian restaurant has quickly become a must-try destination. Join Chef Conant and celebrity Guest Chef Michael Chiarello as they cook up a four-course meal with sommelier-paired wines for a luxe afternoon lunch of la dolce vita.

The Los Angeles Food and Wine Festival (LAFW) is a series of several events where folks can eat, drink and be merry. Local and celebrity chefs from around the country gather to share their talents. Events are held all over town and include cooking demonstrations, fine dining, casual dining, street dining and more. Ultimately the LAFW raises money for the St. Vincent Meals On Wheels. In 2011, LAFW raised $400,000 which provided hot nutritious meals delivered to seniors in need.

from Montage Hotel website
I attended lunch at Scarpetta with my mom, which is located in the beautiful Montage Hotel in Beverly Hills. We drove up from San Diego that morning, allowing four hours based on the traffic reputation of Los Angeles. After self parking in the garage, my mom and I made it up to the gorgeous courtyard. There was an incredible water fountain surrounded by meticulously manicured grounds. With a slight turn, there it was. Scarpetta of Beverly Hills.

There was a table set outdoors to greet guests. In the small outdoor area, fellow diners stood drinking Nino Franco "Grave Di Stecca" Prosecco and passed appetizers. The weather was perfect, sunny and maybe 90 degrees - so welcoming for this sun-deprived Seattle-lite.  For about half an hour we stood, nibbled and drank (seems that we drank more than nibbled).

from Montage Hotel website
As folks started to move into the restaurant, I couldn't help but notice the dining room. It's large and open. The huge table in the middle was reserved for Food and Wine folks and the booths for various sponsors. Those were the ideal seats.  Tables located on the perimeter of the dining room were for people like me, general ticket holders.

We chose a large oval table in the corner with table setting for nine diners.  We met our table mates, a local couple from Beverly Hills, a couple from New York and three friends from San Francisco.

The program started with a few words from folks at Food and Wine.  Chef Scott followed by Chef Michael both warmly welcomed the guests.  There was a feeling of culinary friendship between both Chefs, very apparent when Chef Michael (jokingly) explained that a bucket would be passed around to buy Chef Scott a new pair of jeans, because they were too holy  Both Chefs described the menu we were about to partake.  Afterwards, representatives from the wineries described their wines that we would be drinking.

First came the bread basket.  If you've every dined at a Scarpetta restaurant, you know what I mean.  A hearty selection of deliciousness.  I made sure to pace myself because there were four courses coming up.  Our afternoon menu:

Truffle Suppli with Taleggio
Pasta Fritta with House Cured Proscuitto and Fig Conserva
Bruschetta with Oven Dried Tomatoes, Burrata and Balsamic Caviar
Blini with Stracciatella and Smoked Trout Roe
w/ Nino Franco "Grave Di Stecca" Prosecco, Valdobbiandene 2009
Wild Alaskan Sockeye Salmon, "Pancetta Wrapped" with Chiogga Beet Mostarda, Parisienne Pomme Confit and Purple Mizuna Insalata
w/ Palima Malvasia Bianca 2010
Mushroom Agnolotti with Corn, Chanterelles, and Red Wine Glace
w/ Lungarotti, Rosso Di Torgiano, Rubesco, DOCG, Umbria 2008
Wood Grilled Chops of Grass-Fed Lamb with Local Cherry Vinaigrette, Pistachio Pesto, Roasted Cauliflower, Fregola Sarda
w/ Bersano Barbaresco "Mantico" DOCG Piedmont 2008
Chocolate Souffle with Milk Gelato
w/ Paolo Saracco Moscato D'Asti 2010

Throughout the meal, both Chefs made their way around the dining room, greeting guests at each table and signing menus.

Each course came at a leisurely pace.  Our silverware replaced at every course.  Water glasses always filled with Panna (how classy), and napkins nicely folded after guests excused themselves during the meal.  Service was fabulous.

As the meal concluded, my table mate Arthur and I took a tour of the upstairs seating area.  Oh my goodness, what a beautiful, private dining area.  The wall of coveted alcohol, the woodwork on the ceiling, the view overlooking the main dining room was breathtaking.  It's rumored that "A" list celebrities dine upstairs - offering them the privacy to enjoy a meal in relative peace.

Overall, I enjoyed the afternoon.  It was such a pleasure to attend such a successful event.  I had the chance to again enjoy meeting Chef Scott and the honor of meeting Chef Michael for the very first time.  Scarpetta Beverly Hills and Bottega Napa Valley - both restaurants were well represented at the Los Angeles Food and Wine Festival.

Scarpetta on Urbanspoon

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