Scarpetta’s Sultry Dining Experience
There is something exceptional in the air at the Fontainbleau. In addition to the lavish perfumes of the gorgeous gold diggers and the pretentiousness of the millionaires, there is also this intoxicating energy that imbues one with feelings of regality and sexiness. Walking through the doors and into this haven of plush indulgence seems to elevate the resort’s patrons. We finally got around to trying the fabled Scarpetta that our foodie circle raves about and took the tongue plunge. The ambiance was exalting, the service impeccable, the soundtrack melodic, and the food was great, too.
After promenading past the seductive bar and the beautiful people drinking at it, we were seated in a luxurious dining area. Before we even ordered our fare, a tasty basket with an assortment of fresh hot, straight-from-the-oven bread was delivered to our table, including a stellar eggplant dip, oil and butter. The favorite was a concoction of thin sliced salami layered into the bread with tomatoes.
We started with the acclaimed Creamy Polenta and it was better than we ever could have imagined. Polenta is cornmeal that is boiled into a porridge. Scarpetta serves it next to a bowl of fricasseed (cut up, sautéed and braised) truffled mushrooms. What makes this treat so freakishly delicious is that the polenta is cooked for three hours, which dissolves ALL of the grains. This process transforms it into this uber creamy and deliriously superb delicacy. It possesses an amazing consistency that simultaneously dazzles and soothes your soul. The Hedonist preferred it without the mushrooms, so you might want to stop the server from mixing the two after it is bestowed upon your table and try it both ways.
The only letdown of the night was the Black Taglioni with stewed baby octopus and basil bread crumbs. The dish looked resplendent but was truly uninspiring. It consisted of just one flavor note and was fairly bland. When our gracious waitress asked us how everything was, I responded in my usual brutally honest way that the taglioni was disappointing. She asked if we wanted to switch it out, but not wanting to make a fuss, we politely declined. A couple minutes later the manager arrived, apologized profusely and demanded that we substitute out the taglioni for their famous spaghetti. This is a true staple of a fantastic restaurant, where unadulterated customer satisfaction is paramount. They had no idea we were bloggers and still insisted on optimizing our experience. Kudos, Scarpetta!
The Spaghetti with tomato and basil is what vaulted Scarpetta aloft to its world-renowned fame. They use some of the finest pasta imported from Italy and one can taste the difference. It was cooked to utter perfection al dente (firm, but not hard). It was thick substantial noodles, yet soft enough to twirl around your fork and tongue. These delicately firm noodles feel so amazing to bite into. The sauce was not overpowered by the tomato and contained some depth from the fresh basil. It is not a rich dish and fairly simple on the taste spectrum, but it is done as perfectly as spaghetti was meant to be.
To consummate the meal, we had the Coconut Panna Cotta with caramelized pineapple and guava “soup”. This was a fun dessert that made dining feel more like play. The underneath of the “sweet and tart” soup was a deceptively thick custard. When you dipped your spoon into it, you found yourself surprised at the resistance from the dense custard. It was definitely addictive as all the flavors harmoniously blended together into an ambrosial sugar rush. The tiny cookie (tuile) on top was simply divine.
Since one dessert is rarely enough, we also ordered the Coffee Semifredo with hazelnuts, anise cream and lemon sorbet. The hazelnut was at the forefront with a subdued cafecito taste entwined into it. The highlight of the dish was a ridiculously poignant lemon sorbet that will energize your face from its sheer strength of its flavor. I am not sure what goes on in that kitchen, but it felt like the sorbet had some adderal or cocaine in it. I scooped up a bit to put on my teeth to see if I could get a lemon numbie but to no avail. Nevertheless, it was a brilliant treat. 😉