After arriving in Miami on Saturday night, G and I had a drink at our hotel bar and considered where we should go for dinner. While flipping through OpenTable, G decided to deviate from our plan and book us a 9 o'clock reservation at Scarpetta, celebrity chef Scott Conant's Italian eatery located inside the historic and iconic Fontainebleau. Our plan was to visit Miami Beach's most luxurious landmark hotel sometime during our visit and to simply get a glass of wine and an appetizer at Scarpetta since it is an extremely expensive restaurant, befitting its residence inside a luxury hotel and the fact that Conant (you probably know him from "Chopped") is a James Beard award-winning restaurateur.
But, G threw caution to the wind. Carpe diem! You only live once (YOLO!). He said we may never return to Miami Beach and he wanted to make the most of it. So he booked, we got dressed up, we went.
And the food was divine, of course.
The meal began with an abundant bread basket-- filled with three kinds of rolls-- served alongside a porcelain canoe of spreads: butter, olive oil, and what I believe were deeply concentrated tomatoes (the tomato flavor in these little bites was beyond). Torn between ordering a glass of Rosso (red) or Bianco (white), I selected the only Rosato on the wine menu: Bertani Bertarose, a 2012 vintage from Veneto, Italy. Not too sweet, just a hint, it may be my new favorite rosé. G, a red man, ordered the 2011 Pertinace Barbera, from Piemonte, Italy.
While the dinner menu was full of tempting entree choices, including Diver Sea Scallops and Fennel Dusted Black Cod, I just had to get pasta knowing it was fresh-made in-house. Plus, Conant is always sharply critical of "Chopped" contestants' pasta, so I felt I must give his a try. I convinced G of this, too. I ordered the Scialatelli (pronounced shy-uh-la-telli, I learned), which featured long, linguine-like noodles tangled up with luscious chunks of Maine lobster, arugula and basil and topped with crispy bottarga bread crumbs. (Bottarga is salted fish roe, I just discovered, which I'm glad I didn't know beforehand because I may have asked our server to hold the crumbs. But they were delicious!)
As for G, he chose the Short Rib & Bone Marrow Agnolotti (a stuffed pasta similar to ravioli), served with a horseradish and red wine jus. I tried a few bites and the pasta sheets that formed the agnolotti were so thin, so fine, so delicate, I can't imagine the training and time it takes to make each perfect morsel. The filling was deeply and satisfyingly savory, much different from my dish which was light and fresh. Both, however, were decadent and scrumptious in their own way.
Fortunately, the reasonable portion sizes allowed us to save room for dessert. While we were leaning towards the Pistachio Soufflé we opted for the Chocolate Zeppole, on the recommendation of our server. G had never before had zeppole, which could be best described as an Italian donut. But these fried balls of dough are much lighter than anything we Americans make. And these zeppole were especially good because their airy centers were stuffed with Nutella. As if that wasn't enough, the plate of five was showered with a sprinkling of crushed hazelnuts and served with a pool of spiced anglaise for dipping. The thing of dreams.
After dinner, we planned to go to the nightclub housed within Fontainebleau: LIV. Unfortunately for us, we lingered over dinner a little too long and by the time we got out at 11 o'clock a line had already formed out the door and into the (surprisingly cold and windy) Miami night. We would have suffered through the chill and the crowds to get in the door but then we found out the cover charge: $60 for me, $80 for him. Having already dropped that much on dinner (plus a tip) we decided to take our old (30-ish) butts and full tummies back to the hotel and cuddle up under the covers, to dream of giant, sparkling gold chandeliers and boats of creamy vanilla anglaise...
|[ All dressed up for our fancy Scarpetta dinner. ]|
|[ Clockwise: Scialatelli, Agnolotti, Zeppole, an overflowing bread basket and Rosato wine at Scarpetta. ]|
|[ Gorgeous, twinkling chandeliers in the lobby at Fontainebleau. ]|